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Speeding up intra-system data transfer through optical data links and minimizing energy demand by a new generation of integrated circuits


The application of cutting-edge technologies like AR/VR or artificial intelligence in consumer products and industry demand for high-performance data transfer between processors, memory and peripherals. This is valid for e.g. self-driving cars but also for industrial data centres. However, the limiting factor nowadays (and for future scaling) is the data transfer within the system, specifically, by the factors: bandwidth, power, and space. In fact, so-called interconnects cause 30% of power consumption in data centres today (and data centres account for currently 2%, in the future estimated 8%, of electricity worldwide). At higher speeds, the electricity cost of currently used copper links already dominates over the hardware cost. Due to this and their unsustainable signal loss, copper links are increasingly replaced by optical solutions, e.g. vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), which provide negligible frequency dependent loss, a high bandwidth and 10-times lower power consumption. The VIS team has repeatedly reached performance world records for their VCSEL products based on proprietary transmitter and receiver assemblies and own integrated circuits (ICs). Facing the challenge of continued scaling and data transmission capacity needs >200Gb/s, the industry needs a new generation of VCSEL chips. To develop those, some further optimized ICs are most important. Currently, IC development is outsourced by VIS with a significant supervising effort. Main objective of this proposal is to hire and integrate an IC design expert to finally extend IC performance in VIS VCSELs to enable 224Gb/s PAM4 single channel transmission at energy consumption of 1mW/Gbps (triple speed performance and -50% energy demand). The VIS business opportunity is to provide complete proprietary VCSEL solutions, triplicating the revenues and gaining a market share of >20 % of the datacom segment of this market within 5y. The innovation associate will gain a long-term career opportunity.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

CSA-LSP - Coordination and support action Lump sum


Hardenbergstrasse 7
10623 Berlin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 135 000