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Imec unveils next-gen 50GHz electro-absorption modulator

Posted: 27 Mar 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Optical fibre  optical modulator  optical transceivers 

Imec, Intec lab at Ghent University and Stanford University jointly demonstrated a compact germanium (Ge) waveguide electro-absorption modulator (EAM) with a modulation bandwidth above 50GHz. The Ge EAMS on Si demonstration combined extinction ratio and low insertion loss with a low capacitance of 10fF.

Future chip-level optical interconnects require integrated optical modulators with stringent requirements for modulation efficiency and bandwidth, as well as for footprint and thermal robustness.

In the presented work, imec and its partners have improved the Ge EAMs on Si, realising higher modulation speed, modulation efficiency, and lower capacitance. This was obtained by leveraging the optical and electrical fields in the Ge waveguides, as enabled in imec's 200mm Silicon Photonics platform.

Ge EAMS on Si

The EAM was implemented along with various Si waveguide devices, grating couplers, various active Si devices and Ge photodetectors to enable industrial adoption of optical transceivers based on this device.

"This achievement is a milestone for realising silicon optical transceivers for datacom applications at 50Gbit/s and beyond," said imec Programme Director Joris Van Campenhout. "We have developed a modulator that addresses the bandwidth and density requirements for future chip-level optical interconnects."

Companies can benefit from imec's Silicon Photonics platform (iSiPP25G) through established standard cells or by exploring the functionality of their own designs in Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) runs. The iSiPP25G technology is available via ICLink services and MOSIS, a provider of low-cost prototyping and small volume production services for custom ICs.

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