Singapore’s A* STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has partnered with Japan-based multinational company Fujikura Ltd to develop and launch what they claim to be the world’s first 40 to 60 Gbps silicon-based optical modulators with advanced multilevel modulation formats for high speed long-haul data transmission.
Reported on 20 March 2013 at OFC/NEOEC 2013 – the largest global conference and exposition on optical communications and networking that was held in Anaheim, US – this achievement marks a major advancement towards low-cost, ultra-high bandwidth and small footprint optical communications on silicon platform.
By adopting multi-level modulations in a simple Quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK) and differential-QPSK (DQPSK) format, information capacity is significantly increased and so does the total data communication throughput for a given optical channel.
The new modulator has demonstrated high communication speeds of more than 40 Gbps and more than 60 Gbps for DQPSK and QPSK respectively.
For instance, for a channel grid spacing of 50 GHz, 40G DQPSK results in a spectral efficiency twice that of 20G with conventional on-off keying (OOK) format which is widely used commercially at present.
The new modulator is also much smaller in footprint and cheaper to fabricate as it is CMOS-compatible as compared to conventional Lithium Niobate modulators.
This breakthrough is a progressive effort of years of strategic partnership between IME and Fujikura since 2006 to develop optical telecommunications component technologies.
“This [breakthrough] will fuel the design and development prospects of next-generation long-haul telecommunication systems as well as truly bring low cost, high performance optical communications to the masses,” said Prof. Dim-Lee Kwong, executive director of IME.
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