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Revolutionary New Technology Delivers Improved Signal Integrity

Published on February 26, 2008 at 6:52 PM

Lightwire, Inc., the technology leader in CMOS photonics interconnects, today introduced the industry's first CMOS photonics 10GbE SFP+ LRM optical module, the LSME10XX. The new plug-and-play Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) compliant module is used to connect servers and network equipment in Ethernet networks at distances of up to 220m. The new module reduces operating power requirements by more than half while providing superior signal integrity and operating over a wider temperature range as compared to currently available 10Gb opto-electronic products.

"These new optical modules represent a significant breakthrough for the industry on several fronts," said Lightwire CEO Vijay Albuquerque. "First of all, these are the first commercially available standards-compliant CMOS photonics products. Lightwire is the first to bring the widely publicized silicon photonics technology into the mainstream of communications solutions. Second, the superior operating characteristics made possible by CMOS photonics technology will enable Lightwire SFP+ products to break the power and density constraints now limiting widespread deployment of SFP+ modules in next-generation networking equipment. Current SFP+ solutions consume too much power, suffer from signal integrity issues and do not perform well over temperature. Lightwire's new CMOS photonics SFP+ modules use significantly less power, provide outstanding signal integrity and operate over a wider and more useful temperature range. Lightwire's SFP+ modules are designed to address the requirements of the high density 10Gb network infrastructure in the next generation data center and other Ethernet-based networks."

"Lightwire's approach is fundamentally different from other silicon photonics products on the market," said Karen Liu, Ph.D., Vice President at Ovum RHK. "It has set out to solve the right critical problem which is reducing power dissipation which in turn comes down to tackling signal integrity and compatibility with digital CMOS drive circuitry from the ground up. It's very new technology but it can be adopted immediately since it is being brought to market as a standards-based LRM transceiver. System OEMs have been waiting for the LRM for many years but it just hasn't been possible to fit in the EDC power without reducing the optics power. Going beyond that, Lightwire's approach is eminently suited to parallel products, such as 4 x 10 Gb or 4 x 25 Gb. The industry is now looking eagerly for breakthroughs to reach 40 and 100 Gbps bandwidth with practical power, size and cost."

The Lightwire LSME10XX 10Gb SFP+ LRM optical module is the first product based on Lightwire's CMOS photonics process jointly developed with Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. (Chartered) and announced in November 2007. The new CMOS photonics device technology, protected by over 120 patents, is revolutionary in its ability to integrate light modulation circuitry into silicon, enabling high volume, low cost production CMOS fabrication techniques to be used to produce high bandwidth optical components. Lightwire uses Chartered's current high-volume CMOS process technologies to manufacture its devices.

"Lightwire's MZI circuit is the most highly optimized silicon-based modulator and driver design I have seen," said Lehigh University Professor Thomas L. Koch, Ph.D. and member of the Lightwire Technical Advisory Board. "Lightwire has done a remarkable job of reducing the power consumption of their solution while still meeting high-volume manufacturing requirements. Building on IME's development and Chartered Semiconductor's production engineering effort, Lightwire is well positioned to lead the industry in integration, low power, and compact size." Dr. Koch, a leading authority on photonic integration and silicon photonics, is a joint Professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering and Physics at Lehigh University and Director of the Center for Optical Technologies.

Availability

The Lightwire LSME1085 10Gb SFP+ LRM optical module is available for customer evaluation immediately with production units scheduled for the second half of 2008.

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