Project: Development of integrated optical technology for short range, ultra high speed active optical data cables.

OBJECTIVE_x000D_ Within this project, a Pship of highly complementary private companies (SME and multinational) and knowledge institutes will join forces in developing a new type of optoelectronic microdevice. This microdevice is the key to future ultra high speed data cables. Due to its excellent price-performance ratio, the Ps expect that this type of data cables will constitute the majority of the multi-million market for high performance data interconnects._x000D_ _x000D_ BACKGROUND_x000D_ Within our "electronic society" we experience an ever increasing demand for accurate and timely transfer of data. Downloading files, using online applications and participating in multiplayer games, video sharing, storing data on a variety of peripheral devices, one's productivity or participation all depends on the transfer rate of data. Data rates within computers and in computer networks have grown in numbers of magnitude. Whereas 20 years ago a computer communicated with the internet at several hundreds of kbits/s, currently (optical) connections of several Gb/s are available to consumers. In professional high speed communication and computing networks data rates of 10 Gbits/s or more are necessary to fulfil the need for efficient transfer of large amounts of data in a reasonable time. This includes for example banking transactions, retail sales tracking, credit card transactions or perhaps the control of manufacturing equipment._x000D_ _x000D_ Many standards and hardware devices for data transfer have been developed, most of which are based on electrical data transfer using a large variety of copper cables. At high data rates many anomalies occur in the transfer of electrical signals across copper cables which limits the maximum data transfer rate and the length of the data cable. As interconnect density continues to rise in high performance computing, copper cabling assembly seems to reach its maximum capacity._x000D_ _x000D_ New options lie in the field of fiber optics. Not only will fiber optics be able to handle an extremely high link speed, they will also have a number of additional benefits. They:_x000D_ ¿ Save cabinet space;_x000D_ ¿ Provide capability at short and long distances;_x000D_ ¿ Allow for low power consumption (also due to less cooling that is needed);_x000D_ ¿ Have improved security (hard to tap into the optics);_x000D_ ¿ Weigh less than copper cables (see annex 2);_x000D_ ¿ Use less raw materials._x000D_ _x000D_ Even though the technology is widely applied in the telecom industry, optical solutions are still perceived as being expensive as it is needed to convert the electrical signal into laser light and vice versa. But due to new technological developments, a strong reduction in price of fiber optics communication is at hand._x000D_ _x000D_ GOALS OF THE OPTICALLINK PROJECT_x000D_ The OpticalLink consortium Ps envisage the future in active cabling within and between digital electronic appliances to be in fiber optic cabling. A prerequisite is the realization of strongly integrated and low priced devices for high speed electrical-optical and optical-electrical signal conversion and signal handling. Basic technologies to be researched and developed within this project are:_x000D_ ¿ High speed microelectronic circuitry for driving cost effective light transmitters (VCSELs) and receivers (photodiodes);_x000D_ ¿ Actively controlled integrated optical devices for advanced optical signal handling;_x000D_ ¿ Optical-circuit board technology for low-cost integration of the electronic and optical functions;_x000D_ ¿ Ultra accurate and low cost technologies for system integration and packaging._x000D_ _x000D_ TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET APPLICATION_x000D_ The project marks an important step in high speed data transfer; it brings within reach what is perceived to be vital future technology. Within the project the foundation is laid for a technology platform which enables the realization of (ultra) high speed interconnect devices. This generic technology can be used to fulfil a large variety of interconnect standards which have already been defined or will be defined in the future (e.g. Infiniband, USB-4.0). Within the project a low-cost optical interconnect solution, with a channel capacity or link speed of at least 20Gbits/s based on the USB-4.0 standard will be taken as the carrier. This device, a high speed interconnect cable, is characterized by an electric signal input and output. Electronic-Optical-Electronic conversion and signal handling will be carried out in the plugs of the cable thereby preventing the necessity of setting new interconnect standards. _x000D_ _x000D_ PROJECT PS / EXPERTISE_x000D_ ¿ XiO Photonics B.V. - Optical circuit boards including advanced actively-switched optical waveguides and integrated optical filters;_x000D_ ¿ VI-Systems GmbH - Technology for low cost and high speed active optical micrometer scale devices;_x000D_ ¿ Tyco Electronics Nederland B.V.- System design and interconnect device manufacturing;_x000D_ ¿ Fraunhofer IZM - Ultra-accurate Micro-electronic and micro-optical system integration; _x000D_ ¿ IHP GmbH - High speed transmit and receive microelectronics.

Acronym OpticalLink (Reference Number: 4616)
Duration 12/08/2009 - 31/03/2012
Project Topic The OpticalLink Ps will develop a new low cost technology for optoelectronic data cables by merger of fast electronics and integrated optical circuitry. These cables shall enable future ultra high-speed data exchange between digital computers, peripherals and digital consumer products.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
In our project a cost efficient packaging technology for optoelectronic and electronic components was developed. _x000D_Although the high precision quick interconnection of optical fibers must be taken into account, realized with minimum optical and HF losses. Self-Alignment is driven by the surface tension of liquid solder and stopped by mechanical tops seems to be an adequate way for the mechanical precision, flip-chip the way for low electrical losses. _x000D__x000D_Combined dry and wet etch processes together with galvanic deposited solder bumps and pads were developed to do self-alignment with stop structures for silicon components. Those components were assembled and analyzed regarding the properties of the dies and the accuracy of the interconnection._x000D__x000D__x000D_
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
6 Lionix BV Observer Netherlands
6 Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. Partner Germany
6 XiO Photonics BV Coordinator Netherlands
6 IHP GmbH - innovations for high performance microelectronics Partner Germany
6 VI Systems GmbH Partner Germany
6 Tyco Electronics Nederland B.V. Partner Netherlands