Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

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

Project description

Optimising data transfer with high-performance, low-energy data links

Moving an increasing amount of data at ever higher speeds with greater integrity and lower energy consumption is critical to tomorrow’s innovations. From Industry 4.0 and factory automation to data centres, self-driving cars and consumer electronics, applications are raising the bar for intra-system data transfer. Optical links or interconnects help move data from electrical or opto-electrical systems into fibre optic cables. The German SME VI SYSTEMS is a world leader in optical interconnect technology. The EU-funded IC2020 project is supporting the team as it turns its focus to the integrated chips the interconnects rely on. Optimisation is expected to triple the performance of the interconnects at half the energy cost.


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


See other projects for this call

Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 135 000,00
Hardenbergstrasse 7
10623 Berlin

See on map


The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
No data