Silicon photonics researchers have demonstrated the first all-silicon optical transmitter at 100Gbps and beyond without the use of digital signal processing. The new optical modulator almost doubles the maximum data rate of current state-of-the-art devices, demonstrating the potential for low power low-cost all-silicon solutions that avoid complicating fabrication processes with new materials that are not CMOS compatible.
The optical modulator is a critical component in systems serving modern information and communication technologies, not only in traditional data communication links but also in microwave photonics or chip-scale computing networks.
In contrast to previous work in the field, the researchers have introduced a new design philosophy where photonics and electronics must be considered as a single integrated system in order to tackle the demanding technical challenges of this field. Their results are based upon a fully integrated electronic-photonic system, not a laboratory probed stand-alone silicon modulator.