Hybrid FinFET-Silicon Photonics Technology for Ultra-low Power Optical I/O

Imec has demonstrated ultra-low power, high bandwidth optical transceivers through hybrid integration of silicon photonics and FinFET CMOS technologies.


In the presented work, a differential FinFET driver was co-designed with a silicon photonics ring modulator, achieving a 40Gb/s NRZ optical modulation at 154fJ/bit dynamic power consumption. The receiver included a FinFET trans-impedance amplifier (TIA) optimized for operation with a Ge wave guide photo diode, enabling 40Gb/s NRZ photo detection with an estimated sensitivity of -10dBm at 75fJ/bit power consumption. High-quality data transmission and reception was also demonstrated in a loop-back experiment at 1330nm wavelength over standard single mode fiber (SMF) with 2dB link margin. Finally, a 4x40Gb/s, 0.1mm2 wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) transmitter with integrated thermal control was demonstrated, enabling bandwidth scaling beyond 100Gb/s per fiber.


“The demonstrated hybrid FinFET-silicon photonics platform integrates high-performance 14nm FinFET CMOS circuits with imec’s 300mm silicon photonics technology through dense, low-capacitance Cu micro-bumps. Careful co-design in this combined platform has enabled us to demonstrate 40Gb/s NRZ optical transceivers with extremely low power consumption and high bandwidth density,” says Joris Van Campenhout, director of the Optical I/O R&D program at imec.


This work has been carried out as part of imec’s industrial affiliation R&D program on Optical I/O and was presented at the 2018 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits (June 2018) in a “late news” paper. Source: Imec