Scalable 200Gbit/s SiGe BiCMOS optical receiver targets the datacentre

Scalable 200Gbit/s SiGe BiCMOS optical receiver targets the datacentre

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in Belgium have developed a scalable silicon germanium (SiGe) optical receiver that can run at speeds of 200Gbit/s.

The team at IDLab, an imec research group at Ghent University, Belgium, combined a SiGe BiCMOS traveling-wave electronics integrated circuit and a Silicon Photonics Germanium photodetector to provide a high speed optical receiver that is also scalable beyond the 800Gbit/s links currently being designed.

“Currently, the most performant optical datacom transceivers operate at speeds up to 800 Gbps, using for example 8 x 100 Gbps channels, but the field is envisioning doubling the channel capacity to 200 Gbps to reduce the transceiver complexity, cost and power consumption while improving manufacturing yield,” says Peter Ossieur, program manager for high-speed transceivers at imec’s IDLab and professor at Ghent University.

The receiver, shown at the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Glasgow this week achieves a gross data rate of 200 Gbit/s with the traveling-wave SiGe BiCMOS transimpedance amplifier. Aside from the speed, the use of mainstream SiGe BiCMOS makes the technology more scalable and therefore affordable.

“An alternative to reach such speeds are InP electronics, which is a more expensive and less scalable technology,” says Ossieur. “SiGe BiCMOS allows us to integrate more functionalities and the chips can also be manufactured at higher volumes.”

The team is demonstrating the receiver in a setup with a silicon photonics Ge photodetector from imec’s integrated silicon photonics platform (iSiPP), targeted to the
telecom, datacom and medical diagnostics industries.

Joris Van Campenhout, fellow and program director optical I/O at imec, says the BiCMOS SiGe optical receiver represents one of the many steps imec is taking to ready its silicon photonics platforms for demanding 200Gbps-and-beyond applications.

“These latest results represent one more data point showcasing the capability of imec’s silicon photonics platform (iSiPP) to operate at lane rates of 200Gbps, a key requirement for upcoming pluggable and co-packaged optics,” he said.


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