8 July 2010


IQE demos 40GB/s VCSEL technology for next-gen optical communications

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK has published a joint paper in Electronic Letters ‘40 Gbit/s error-free operation of an oxide-confined 850nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL)’ reporting the demonstration of its VCSEL materials capability for optical transmission at the high data transfer rates required for applications such as active optical cables (AOCs) and Intel’s LightPeak.

Existing copper interconnects between consumer devices such as BluRay DVD and high-definition (HD) TVs are limited to data transfer rates of 0.48GB/s. Furthermore, transmission distances for copper interconnects decrease significantly at higher transmission rates.

The first generation of optical cables is designed to support data transfer speeds of up to 10GB/s, which is well within the 40GB/s demonstrated by IQE and its partners in the European Union funded program ‘Vertically Integrated Systems for Information Transfer’ (VISIT).

Other members of the VISIT program are Intel (Ireland), VI Systems (Germany), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), The University of Cambridge (UK), University College Cork (Ireland), The Technical University of Berlin (Germany) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia).

In July 2008, IQE’s epiwafer material was used to demonstrate 25GB/s VCSEL capability as part of the initial phase of the program. IQE says that the devices demonstrated in this project set a new world record for data transmission at 850nm (the standard wavelength used for peripheral and LAN optical interconnects).

“IQE has established a clear leadership position in VCSEL technology, which has uniquely positioned the group to exploit its expertise in the next generation of high-speed optical cables to meet the demands of ever increasing data transfer rates for consumer, industrial, automotive and aerospace applications,” says product director Andrew Joel. “High-speed optical interconnects such as Intel’s LightPeak are designed to operate at 20 times the speed of today’s copper technology and will be scalable to 100GB/s in the coming years,” he adds. “In addition to the higher data speeds, optical connectors can be used over significantly longer distances than would be possible with copper based cables.”

See: IQE Company Profile

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