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Silicon Photonics Link

Silicon Photonics Link is the further development of Thunderbolt or Light Peak. It is the optical high-speed technology developed by Intel with which hardware components can communicate with each other at a data rate of up to 50 Gbps.

The Silicon Photonics Link is a passive optical transmission via optical waveguides with wavelength division multiplexing. The decisive difference to comparable approaches is to be seen in the silicon-based integrated circuits. Corresponding chips can be manufactured at low cost. As a result, Silicon Photonics Link can open up many applications.

As with any optical transmission, light signals are modulated on the transmitting side, multiplexed and transmitted via the optical waveguide. At the receiving end, the light signals are demultiplexed and demodulated. The key transmission components are the transmitter and the receiver.

Silicon Photonics Link module with transmitter and receiver, photo: Intel

Silicon Photonics Link module with transmitter and receiver, photo: Intel

In Silicon Photonics Link, the transmitter consists of four hybrid silicone lasers, each emitting at a different wavelength. The light signals from the four lasers are modulated in silicon optical modulators and multiplexed in a silicon-based wavelength division multiplexer for transmission on the optical fiber. Each light signal is capable of transmitting a data rate of 12.5 Gbit/s, leading to the resulting data rate of 50 Gbit/s for four wavelengths.

Silicon Photonics Link technology is scalable in two ways: First, the data rate per channel can be increased to 25 Gbit/s, 40 Gbit/s or later to 100 Gbit/s; second, the number of channels can be increased by four at a time to up to 32. This means that data rates of over 1 Tbit/s(terabit per second) are theoretically realistic in the not too distant future.

Englisch: Silicon Photonics Link
Updated at: 28.10.2016
#Words: 272
Links: Thunderbolt, hardware (HW), data rate, giga bit per second (Gbps), transmission
Translations: DE

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