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Optical Interconnect for VLSI and High Bit-Rate ICs

Objective

The objective of this project was to investigate the use of optical interconnection between VLSI and high bit-rate ICs. As the operating speed and the complexity of microelectronic circuits increases, several packaging and interconnection problems arise. At high bit rates the input/output pins of packages and printed circuit interconnections between packages must be treated as microwave transmission lines for impedance matching and crosstalk suppression. As circuits grow more complex, the pin count in thepackage increases, creating potential reliability problems and excessive package costs. The use of optical rather than electronic interconnection is expected to circumvent these problems.
The inherent wide bandwidth and crosstalk immunity of optical transmission media permits very high bit-rate signals to be readily distributed. Because of this, many lower bitrate signals, each of which would conventionally employ a package pin, can be mu ltiplexed together to form an easily transmitted, high bitrate, optical signal which leaves the integrated circuit package via an "opticalpin". During the course of this project the application and implementation of optical interconnection were assessed.
The objective of this project was to investigate the use of optical interconnection between very large scale integration (VLSI) and high bit rate integrated circuits (IC).

During the course of this project the application and implementation of optical interconnection were assessed.

Work included design studies of the performance, cost and implementations of optical sources and detectors and the choice of optical interconnections. The limitations of optical interconnection have been assessed in terms of power budgets and bit rates and the technology has been studied considering various communication protocols, integrated circuits (IC) performance boundaries and impact on processor architectures. Limited experimental work has been done on investigating low cost techniques for fibre to chip interfaces and for the incorporation of optical fibres into printed circuit boards.
Work in project 380 included design studies of the performance, cost and implementations of optical sources and detectors and the choice of optical fibre for optical interconnections. The limitations of optical interconnection have been assessed in terms of power budgets and bit rates, and the technology has been studied considering various communication protocols, IC performance boundaries and impact on processor architectures. Limited experimental work has been done on investigating low-cost techniques for fibre-to-chip interfaces and for the incorporation of optical fibres into printed circuit boards.
This one-year project was continued in project986, in which experimental investigation of the optical interconnection solutions developed here took place.

Coordinator

GEC Marconi Research Centre
Address
West Hanningfield Road Great Baddow
CM2 8HN Chelmsford
United Kingdom

Participants (2)

Telettra SpA
Italy
Address
Via Tremo 30
20059 Vimercate Milano
University of Southampton
United Kingdom
Address
Highfield
SO9 5NH Southampton