Proceedings PaperOptical Interconnections In Microelectronics
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As the complexity of microelectronic circuits increases, performance becomes more and more limited by interconnections. Continued scaling and packing lead to a dominance of interconnect delays over gate delays. This paper explores the potential of optical inter-connections as a mean for alleviating such limitations. Various optical approaches to the problem are discussed, including the use of guided waves (integrated optics and fiber optics) and free space propagation (simple broadcast and imaging interconnections). The utility of optics is influenced by the nature of the algorithms that are being carried out in computations. Certain algorithms make far greater demands on interconnections than do others. Clock distribution is a specific application where optics can make an immediate contribution. Data interconnections are more demanding, and require the development of hybrid Si/GaAs devices and/or heteroepitaxial structures containing both Si and GaAs layers. The possibilities for future developments in this area are discussed.