editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Photonics on Different Silicon

The use of photons as signal carriers has historically gone towards long-distance transport, either over the air (feels like waves more than photons) or within fiber. But the distances of interest have dropped dramatically, to the point where there are discussions of using silicon photonics even for on-chip signaling.

In a conversation at Semicon West with imec’s Ludo Deferm, we discussed their current work. At this point, and for at least 10 years out, he doesn’t see CMOS and photonics co-existing on the same wafer. The bottleneck right now isn’t on-chip; it’s chip-to-chip. 40-60 Gb/s internally is fine for now. Which suggests the use of photonics in a separate chip in, for example, a 3D-IC stack or on an interposer: one for routing signals between the chips in the stack.

That photonic chip would be made with the same equipment as a CMOS chip – a specific goal of the imec work in commercializing silicon photonics, but it starts with a different wafer: SOI, with a thinner silicon layer than you would have in a typical CMOS wafer, and with that thickness (or thinness) tightly controlled to reduce optical losses.

You can read more about imec’s progress in their recent announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Dec 10, 2018
Last weekend, I took my son to the Dickens Fair for the second year in a row. As we did last year, we had a marvelous time, and I was reminded of the holiday special I wrote last year, as well. So,... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community sit...
Dec 10, 2018
We may think of prosthetics as devices created to enable basic functions, such as walking or grasping an object. Regarded as a necessity, but not an asset, prosthetics of the past......
Dec 7, 2018
That'€™s shocking! Insulation Resistance and Dielectric Withstanding Voltage are two of the qualification tests that Samtec performs in-house during part qualification testing. These tests will ensure that when a connector is used in environmental conditions at the rated wo...
Nov 14, 2018
  People of a certain age, who mindfully lived through the early microcomputer revolution during the first half of the 1970s, know about Bill Godbout. He was that guy who sent out crudely photocopied parts catalogs for all kinds of electronic components, sold from a Quon...