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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PhotoniX (PHOtonic Transmitters for Optical Networks and Interconnects in energy-efficient datacentres, supercomputers and homes based on VCSELs)
H2020

PhotoniX Report Summary

Project ID: 666866

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PhotoniX (PHOtonic Transmitters for Optical Networks and Interconnects in energy-efficient datacentres, supercomputers and homes based on VCSELs)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

To match the demand of the productivity of modern computing systems, which is growing three orders of magnitude per decade, the single interconnect channel bit data rate should double each 2.5 years and the number of channels per link increase 5-fold each 10 years.
At higher frequencies the electromagnetic losses and cross-talk in current state of the art interconnect copper technologies are drastically enhanced, and new technologies are required.
Optical links made of multimode fibers (MMF) powered by Vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) offer fast and energy-efficient solution due to their small size, circular surface emission pattern, low operating current and a narrow spectrum.
Currently bit data rates up to 14Gb/s over 100m are reached by the industry. With its Photonix project VI Systems will commercialize its novel interconnect technology and extend it up to 50Gb/s per channel and km-long distances.

This goal shall be reaches by realizing the following objectives:
1. To qualify advanced optical components (VCSELs and ICs) for mass production readiness (High volume manufacturing capability of 100M+/year) as single chip or chip arrays at 25-50G per channel
2. To motivate the mainstream market of optical interconnects for future market uptake
3. To gain a global VCSEL chip market share of 5 % 4 years after end of the project with revenues expected to increase from 1.1 million EUR to 35 million EUR within 5 years

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

PhotoniX consists of 8 different work packages, that are partly interwoven. For better clarity the perfomed activities are structured according to the three objectives:

1. To qualify advanced optical components (VCSELs and ICs) for mass production readiness (High volume manufacturing capability of 100M+/year) as single chip or chip arrays at 25-50G per channel
In order to achieve this objective the design and pre-qualification of advanced VCSELs took place. In advanced single mode VCSELs bit data rates of 25Gbaud and 50Gbaud was demonstrated, low RIN and high linearity was achieved. 108Gb/s data transmission was demonstrated over 100m of multimode fiber in PAM4 modulation format, 54Gb/s NRZ transmission over 2.2 km MM fiber was achieved, 108-112Gb/s transmission per single VCSEL was achieved in DMT and multi-CAP modulation formats over up to 300m of multimode fiber. All these results represent world records for VCSEL transmission over multimode fiber.
Furthermore, optimal epitaxial designs were modelled and altogether 110 epitaxial VCSEL wafers were grown at an industrial foundry necessary for the start of qualification program. 3 multi-wafer processing runs were executed.
The company extended the testbed suited for spectral, LIV, temperature, near and far field evaluation of optical components by advanced HF testbed allowing up to 128 Gb/s per channel data transmission.
The company completed the pre-project phase with its subcontractors Multi-rate IC based on SiGe 130nm technology (drivers and amplifiers) with the -3dB modulation bandwidth of 45GHz and a high energy efficiency ~1 – 2 mW/Gbps per IC at 56 Gb/s NRZ are being developed. The ICs are based on the previous design exclusively licensed to VIS at 30GHz modulation bandwidth used for 25-28Gb/s and up to 40Gb/s at 4mW/Gbps in a 250 nm SiGe technology node.

2. To motivate the mainstream market of optical interconnects for future market uptake.
In order to create market awareness the company exhibited at major international conferences and met multiple customers in the field of optical components and optical fiber communication.
The company’s employees additionally had multiple visits to customers and partners in the Silicon Valley including key Datacom system, supercomputer and consumer electronics companies.
The company presented talks on high speed VCSEL components at Photonics West 2016, at OFC 2016 and at Asia Communications and Photonics Conference (ACP) 2015, Hong Kong.
The company demonstrated advanced VCSEL technologies suitable for 108Gb/s both at 25Gbaud and 50Gbaud data transmission (PAM16, PAM4) and up to 112 Gb/s using DMT and mCAP modulation techniques. Transmission over kilometre-long distances over MM fiber at >50 Gbaud and >100Gb/s was demonstrated by VIS, also through joint publications with customers and R&D partners.
The customers are thus aware that the present generation of 100Gb/s (25Gb/s×4) VCSEL based links (IEEE Std 802.3bm-2015) and also the new generations of VCSEL links under standardization. The single channel bit data rates:
a. 56 Gb/s NRZ (64GFC Fibre Channel)
b. 25 Gb/s x16 NRZ (IEEE P802.3bs 200 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s Ethernet Task Force)
c. 50 Gb/s PAM4 VCSELs at 25 Gbaud (IEEE P802.3cd 50 Gb/s, 100 Gb/s, and 200 Gb/s Ethernet Task Force)
will be covered by VCSELs with a significant safety margin, consequently, allowing standard multimode fiber-based architecture in datacenters, supercomputers and server farms to last and increase the share in the foreseeable future. With 100Gb/s PAM4 demonstration over 100m of MMF, VI Systems offered a technical solution for short reach technology for future standardization work presently targeted only for single mode fiber tansmission.

3. To gain a global VCSEL chip market share of 5 % 4 years after end of the project with revenues expected to increase from 1.1 million EUR to 35 million EUR within 5 years.
VIS is on proper track to achieve these goals. VIS is engaged in VCSEL technology chain development for own production and through technology licensing model. The two main VCSEL contracts with a total volume of EUR 2.5 Million acquired by VIS during the first project period prove our promising growth perspective.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With its world records for VCSEL transmission (see 1.1) VI Systems pushes the technology boarder forward. This will significantly contribute to an industrial application of high-speed optical components and interconnect links which is relevant in a vast range of applications e.g. data centres, high performance computing and consumer electronics. This will help the mega trend of digitization to unfold its full potential in all fields of the European society.
At the same time increasing computerization and digitization produce a growing energy consumption. For example US data center energy consumption will increase from an equivalent of 34 nuclear power plants in 2013 to 54 in 2020. With its VCSELapproach PhotoniX will establish an energy efficient data transmission technology that could generate energy savings of approx. 60% as compared to starte-of-the-art both by reducing the power consumption and by increasing the seamless link length without extra power and space needed for wavelength conversion. The super-efficient and highly-reliable VCSELs will be made available on the market until 2017. The technology advantage of VI Systems is also proven and secured by two new patents filed.
Moreover, in order to prepare the ramp up technology chain, VIS developed VCSEL technology chains with partners/ subcontractors. EU economy already won through the investment of a partner, who took a European factory out of the bankruptcy which hired back the personnel and operates at full speed now.
VI Systems also took different measures (e.g. several conference participations, press releases and social media articles and much more) to ensure a broad dissemination of project results in order to maximize its impact. Estimations show that almost 8,000 people were reached by this measures. Industry stakeholders (~ 6,0000), general public (~500) and the scientific community (~500) are the most relevant target groups. Several presentations about the technology and project results are available on the company website.

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