Intel Launches Integrated Photonics Research Center
Collaborative, multiple university center
brings together world-renowned photonics and circuits researchers
to pave the way for the next decade of compute
What’s New: Intel Labs recently opened the Intel®
Research Center for Integrated Photonics for Data Center
Interconnects. The center’s mission is to accelerate optical
input/output (I/O) technology innovation in performance scaling and
integration with a specific focus on photonics technology and
devices, CMOS circuits and link architecture, and package
integration and fiber coupling.
"At Intel Labs, we’re strong believers that
no one organization can successfully turn all the requisite
innovations into research reality. By collaborating with some of
the top scientific minds from across the United States, Intel is
opening the doors for the advancement of integrated photonics for
the next generation of compute interconnect. We look forward to
working closely with these researchers to explore how we can
overcome impending performance barriers.” –James Jaussi, senior
principal engineer and director of the PHY Research Lab in Intel
Why It’s Important: The ever-increasing movement of data
from server to server is taxing the capabilities of today’s network
infrastructure. The industry is quickly approaching the practical
limits of electrical I/O performance. As demand continues to
increase, electrical I/O power-performance scaling is not keeping
pace and will soon limit available power for compute operations.
This performance barrier can be overcome by integrating compute
silicon and optical I/O, a key research center focus.
Intel has recently demonstrated progress in critical technology
building blocks for integrated photonics. Light generation,
amplification, detection, modulation, CMOS interface circuits and
package integration are essential to achieve the required
performance to replace electrical as the primary high-bandwidth
Additionally, optical I/O has the potential to dramatically
outperform electrical in the key performance metrics of reach,
bandwidth density, power consumption and latency. Further
innovations are necessary on several fronts to extend optical
performance while lowering power and cost.
About the Research Center: The Intel Research Center for
Integrated Photonics for Data Center Interconnects brings together
universities and world-renowned researchers to accelerate optical
I/O technology innovation in performance scaling and integration.
The research vision is to explore a technology scaling path that
satisfies energy efficiency and bandwidth performance requirements
for the next decade and beyond.
Intel understands that academia is at the heart of technological
innovation and seeks to catalyze innovation in research at leading
academic institutions worldwide. Today’s announcement reflects
Intel’s ongoing commitment to collaborate with academia in
developing new and advanced technologies that improve and further
computing as we know it.
The researchers participating in the Research Center
- John Bowers, University of California, Santa Barbara
Project: Heterogeneously Integrated Quantum Dot Lasers on
Silicon. Description: The UCSB team will investigate issues
with integrating indium arsenide (InAs) quantum dot lasers with
conventional silicon photonics. The goal of this project is to
characterize expected performance and design parameters of single
frequency and multiwavelength sources.
- Pavan Kumar Hanumolu, University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign Project: Low-power optical transceivers
enabled by duo-binary signaling and baud-rate clock recovery.
Description: This project will develop ultra-low-power,
high-sensitivity optical receivers using novel trans-impedance
amplifiers and baud-rate clock and data recovery architectures. The
prototype optical transceivers will be implemented in a 22 nm CMOS
process to demonstrate very high jitter tolerance and excellent
- Arka Majumdar, University of Washington Project:
Nonvolatile reconfigurable optical switching network for
high-bandwidth data communication. Description: The UW team
will work on low-loss, nonvolatile electrically reconfigurable
silicon photonic switches using emerging chalcogenide phase change
materials. Unlike existing tunable mechanisms, the developed switch
will hold its state, allowing zero static power consumption.
- Samuel Palermo, Texas A&M University Project:
Sub-150fJ/b optical transceivers for data center interconnects.
Description: This project will develop energy-efficient
optical transceiver circuits for a massively parallel, high-density
and high-capacity photonic interconnect system. The goal is to
improve energy efficiency by employing dynamic voltage frequency
scaling in the transceivers, low-swing voltage-mode drivers,
ultra-sensitive optical receivers with tight photodetector
integration, and low-power optical device tuning loops.
- Alan Wang, Oregon State University Project: 0.5V
silicon microring modulators driven by high-mobility transparent
conductive oxide. Description: This project seeks to develop
a low driving voltage, high bandwidth silicon microring resonator
modulator (MRM) through heterogeneous integration between the
silicon MOS capacitor with high-mobility Ti:In2O3 The device
promises to overcome the energy efficiency bottleneck of the
optical transmitter and can be co-packaged in future optical I/O
- Ming Wu, University of California, Berkeley
Project: Wafer-scale optical packaging of silicon photonics.
Description: The UC Berkeley team will develop integrated
waveguide lenses that have potential to enable non-contact optical
packaging of fiber arrays with low loss and high tolerances.
- S.J. Ben Yoo, University of California, Davis
Project: Athermal and power-efficient scalable high-capacity
silicon-photonic transceivers. Description: The UC Davis
team will develop extremely power-efficient athermal
silicon-photonic modulator and resonant photodetector photonic
integrated circuits scaling to 40 Tb/s capacity at 150 fJ/b energy
efficiency and 16 Tb/s/mm I/O density. To achieve this, the team
will also develop a new 3D packaging technology for vertical
integration of photonic and electronic integrated circuits with
10,000 pad-per-square-mm interconnect-pad-density.
More Context: Intel Labs (Press Kit)
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating
world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches
lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the
design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our
customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the
cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash
the potential of data to transform business and society for the
better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to
newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.
© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks
are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other
names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
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