MACOM, GloFo to scale silicon photonics for data centers and 5G

March 07, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
MACOM, GloFo to scale silicon photonics for data centers and 5G
MACOM Technology Solutions and GlobalFoundries (GF) have announced a strategic collaboration to ramp the innovative Laser Photonic Integrated Circuit (L-PIC) platform from MACOM using GF’s current-generation 300mm-wafer silicon photonics offering, 90WG. Production scale of 300mm wafers is expected to enable exponential port growth in cloud data centers and 5G networks

The collaboration will leverage GF’s 300mm silicon manufacturing process to deliver requisite cost, scale and capacity that is expected to enable mainstream L-PIC deployment for hyperscale data center interconnects and 5G network deployments at 100G, 400G and beyond.

90WG, built on the company’s 90nm SOI technology using 300mm wafer processing, enables low-cost integration of optical devices like modulators, multiplexers and detectors into a single silicon substrate.

See also: GloFo drives silicon photonics roadmap forward

L-PIC technology solves the remaining key challenge of aligning lasers to the silicon PIC. Leveraging patented Etched Facet Technology (EFT) lasers and a patented Self-Alignment EFT (SAEFT™) process, MACOM’s lasers are aligned and attached directly to the silicon photonics die with high speed and high coupling efficiency, thereby accelerating the adoption of silicon photonics in true industrial-scale applications.

See also: Smallest optical frequency comb to-date

The industry is entering a long upgrade cycle for high speed optical connectivity within cloud data centers as well as 5G optical buildouts. Industry forecasts project 2019, 2020 and beyond to be strong growth years for Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) and PAM-4, with the potential for overall unit demand in 2019, reaching volumes of 10 million units. With a track record of enabling 1.6 million ports in 2016, 4 million ports in 2017, and 6 million ports in 2018, MACOM will work with GF to scale L-PIC production aimed at meeting this exponentially growing market demand.


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