Desktops and Notebooks: Intel Interconnect Prototype Uses Light to Transmit Data
Intel Interconnect Prototype Uses Light to Transmit Data
By Jeffrey Burt
50G-bps Silicon Photonics Module
Mario Paniccia, Intel Fellow and director of Intel's Photonics Technology Lab, holds the 50G-bps silicon photonics transmit module.
The 50G-bps silicon photonics transmit module, left, sends laser light from the silicon chip at the center of the green board, which then travels through optical fiber to the receiver module, right, where a second silicon chip detects the data on the laser and converts it back into an electrical signal.
Two silicon chips are at the heart of the 50G-bps silicon photonics link. The lower chip is used to generate light and send data, while the upper chip is used to receive laser light and convert the optical information back into electrical 1s and 0s.
This silicon transmitter chip uses integrated Hybrid Silicon Lasers, along with other silicon photonic devices, to send up to 50G bits of data each second.
Intel's Paniccia and his team collaborated with Prof. John Bowers of the University of California at Santa Barbara to develop the Hybrid Silicon Laser, a key technology in the 50G-bps silicon photonics link.
Optical Fiber Connection
An optical fiber connection is held up to the transmit module. The 50G-bps silicon photonics link uses passive alignment techniques, wherein the connector mates to pins embedded in the silicon chip to ensure alignment of the laser beam to the optical fiber.