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Proceedings Paper

An all-silicon optical transmission system for clock and data transmission
Author(s): Paul Ellinghaus; Petrus J. Venter; Monuko du Plessis; Pieter Rademeyer; Alfons W. Bogalecki
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Paper Abstract

The low cost and mass integration potential of CMOS integrated circuits create an attractive opportunity for investigating CMOS as an optical platform. Although silicon, as an indirect band gap material, is known for inefficient electroluminescence, silicon-based optical transmission is still a much sought after capability. This paper shows the potential of an all silicon transmission system for both clock and data transmission. By utilizing silicon light emitting diodes operating in avalanche, it is shown that a switching speed of above hundred megahertz is possible. The transmitter consists of an array of light sources, with metal light directors for improved external quantum efficiency. The array is pulsed across an optical fibre and received by an avalanche photodiode and amplifier module. Spectral results of the received signal confirm an optical component in excess of 100 MHz, were the off-chip driver circuitry and the photodiode receiver currently limit the bandwidth of the system. As the requirements for wideband data transmission are more stringent than for a narrow band clock signal, the transmission system was tested as a baseband digital communication system, with transmission speeds of up to 176 kbps. We also present eye diagrams of the received signal to prove the success of the transmission system, where transmission speed is limited to detectable optical levels versus allowable in-band noise. A refinement on these principles might lead to CMOS as a contender in high speed clock transmission as well as an alternative to III-V devices for low cost optical transmission systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 February 2010
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7606, Silicon Photonics V, 76061J (16 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.841771
Show Author Affiliations
Paul Ellinghaus, INSiAVA (Pty) Ltd. (South Africa)
Petrus J. Venter, Univ. of Pretoria (South Africa)
Monuko du Plessis, Univ. of Pretoria (South Africa)
Pieter Rademeyer, INSiAVA (Pty) Ltd. (South Africa)
Alfons W. Bogalecki, INSiAVA (Pty) Ltd. (South Africa)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7606:
Silicon Photonics V
Joel A. Kubby; Graham T. Reed, Editor(s)

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