A follow-up on the the 40G Modulator

First of all, I’d like to thank every one for sending their comments to my blog “Announcing 40 Gb/s silicon optical modulator.” I will take this opportunity to try to address some of the issues raised in your comments.

The silicon optical modulator is currently still in the research stage. We still have a lot of work to do before possible productization. Although a single silicon modulator could be considered as an alternative to the existing commercial modulator products, our goal is to integrate multiple modulators with other silicon based photonic components to create a high-speed high-capacity “optical chip” for optical communication and interconnect applications.

Cost is one of the big issues for the future adoption of optical interconnect technology in the computing industry. As you may know, the total cost of individual photonic devices consists of three parts, namely, component cost, packaging cost, and testing cost. You may argue that reducing the component cost by using lower-cost silicon material can only reduce a part of ~1/3 of the total cost. However, the key value of silicon photonics is to decrease the total cost by partially cutting the packaging and testing costs through large-scale integration. Silicon provides an ideal platform for such a purpose, namely, photonic & electronic (monolithic and/or hybrid) integration as well as multi-chip packaging.

Hope I have answered your key questions.


One Response to A follow-up on the the 40G Modulator

  1. Nick says:

    Hi Ansheng,
    I have heard IBM has developed a similar laser modulator that encodes data at 160 Gb/s. What are the reasons you are still limited at 40 Gb/s ..?
    Great job for your blog and of course for your research.