First Terabit optical link for chip-to-chip connections

First Terabit optical link for chip-to-chip connections

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

US startup Ayar Labs has successfully demonstrated the industry’s first terabit per second Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) optical link for chip-to-chip and chiplet links.

The TeraPHY optical I/O chiplet has eight optical ports running error free without Forward Error Correction (FEC) for a total bandwidth of 1.024 Tbit/s with less than 5 pJ/bit energy efficiency used with the company’s SuperNova multi-wavelength source.

This is a major milestone in providing optical connectivity for data-intensive chip-to-chip applications, low power interconnects, and the latest heterogeneous and disaggregated co-packaged chiplet architectures.

“This is yet another industry first demonstration of our technology which promises to transform computing and extend the benefits of Moore’s Law,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “Digital transformation is being driven by cloud, connectivity, artificial intelligence, and intelligent edge; our roadmap of products and custom solutions is tailored to serve these high-volume market segments. We remain on track to deliver on several customer commitments by end of year.”

SuperNova is the industry’s first multi-wavelength, multi-port optical source with 64 addressable wavelengths. This has eight times the number of wavelengths compared to today’s commercially available pluggable products. The SuperNova is also the first product compliant with new specifications from an industry consortium that drives standards for advanced optical communication and computing applications. The multi-wavelength source uses laser technology from MACOM.

“MACOM’s novel laser arrays are ideal for silicon photonics and co-packaged optics,” said Stephen Daly, President and CEO of MACOM. “As a promoter-level member of the CW-WDM MSA, we are excited to collaborate with Ayar Labs on the next generation of optical devices based on the MSA’s new specification.”

Next: Optical multi-source specifications

The specifications from the Continuous-Wave Wavelength Division Multiplexing Multi-Source Agreement (CW-WDM MSA) Group cover 8, 16, and 32 wavelength optical sources.

The Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) defines laser sources covering three spans in the O-band wavelength grids. These lasers can be used as optical sources for multiple applications such as high-density co-packaged optics, machine learning, and optical computing. Each wavelength grid is defined with enough technical detail to ensure interoperability across the range of applications. The MSA also outlines measurement methods required for standards compliance.

“The CW-WDM MSA just published an 8, 16, and 32 wavelength O-band laser source standard for use in optical transceivers for emerging advanced datacom applications,” commented Chris Cole, Chair of the MSA. “Laser sources are the critical component in optical communications and having an agreed set of grids creates great opportunities for transceiver and laser suppliers to develop innovative products.”

There are two physical configurations, including a modular optical source with each output port carrying a single wavelength, and an integrated optical source with each output port carrying all the wavelengths. There is also a range of output power classes targeting applications that require very low and very high output levels.

The CW-WDM MSA specification is available for public download at this link.

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