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23 June 2016

ICT-STREAMS EU project to develop transceiver and routing technologies for multi-terabit on-board chip-to-chip communications

ICT-STREAMS, a part of the European Union Horizon 2020 program, is a new three-year project launched on 1 February (followed by a kick-off meeting at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece on 24-25 February) with the goal of developing the required set of transceiver and routing technologies to enable multi-terabit on-board chip-to-chip communications.

The ever-growing demands of mega data centers and high-performance computers for increased bandwidth at a fraction of real-estate and power consumption are pushing existing pluggable optics interconnection solutions to their limits. The research efforts of ICT-STREAMS are therefore aligned with the next generation of embedded optical transceivers, which are placed on-board and in close proximity to the electronic modules, as a way to drastically reduce the required physical space and power budget.

To this end, the project aims to develop a set of innovative technologies for the optical engines and board platform and combine them in a radically new approach for wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) routing architecture, aiming to increase server-board density by >400% and throughput by 1600% (with a 10-fold reduction in energy consumption).

ICT-STREAMS will exploit silicon photonics technology to develop ultra-powerful, compact, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), high-channel-count and dense embedded optical engines with the ability for aggregate throughputs beyond 1Tb/s.

The project will also develop a thermal drift compensation system employing a non-invasive wavelength monitoring and control technology to guarantee real-life applicability of the proposed multi-channel silicon photonics (Si-Pho) technology.

On the board level, a single-mode polymer-based electro-optical PCB (EOPCB) will be developed to serve as the host platform that will efficiently route both optical and high-frequency electrical data across the board.

As a way to relax manufacturing time and cost requirements associated with complex optical assembly processes, optical engines will rely on III/V-on-Si in-plane lasers for optical sourcing, while adiabatic coupling will be employed for I/O interfacing with the electro-optical PCB host platform.

Finally, ICT-STREAMS will assemble the new optical engines on the polymer EOPCB together with a 16x16 arrayed waveguide grating (AWG)-based routing component to leverage WDM technology from just a parallel transmission tool to a massive any-to-any, collision-less and low-latency routing platform with 25.6Tb/s aggregate throughput capability. Photonic-crystal-based III/V-on-Si nano-amplifiers will be introduced as a new amplification paradigm to enable optical power balanced links with advanced features and smart routing functionalities.

The project brings together three industrial partners, one small-medium enterprise and five academic and research institutes in the optical interconnects value chain. The partners are project coordinator Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Centre National de la Recherche Nationale (CNRS) - Laboratoire de photonique et de nanostructures (LPN) in France, IBM Research Zurich GmbH in Switzerland, IMEC in Leuven, Belgium, Politecnico di Milano in Italy, STMicroelectronics in Italy, iMinds in Belgium, Vario Optics AG in Switzerland, and FCI Connectivity in Germany.

Tags: III-Vs-on-Si silicon photonics

Visit: www.ict-streams.eu

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