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Research into the limits of electrical interconnects indicates that metal wire is unlikely to be the ultimate solution to support the growing functionalities of next generation microprocessor. Severe information latency and power consumption are key technological challenges facing the traditional copper interconnects which impose tremendous constraints to keep up with the performance roadmap known as Moore's Law. The shift of paradigm in computer architecture that enables significant parallelism based on a radically new communication landscape will be a remarkable breakthrough. Converging electronic and photonic integrated circuits (EPIC) on a single chip platform to enable functional diversification emerges as one promising approach which could be realized by taking the advantage of low energy and huge data capacity of optical interconnects. By leveraging on the wealth of CMOS technology know-how and infrastructures, the fundamental photonics building blocks that are essential for the demonstration of low-cost EPIC platform have been successfully developed in this work. We present an overview on the current status of this critical technology development and provide an outlook for the monolithic integration of Si micro- and nano-photonics. A seamless integration of EPIC is poised to become a promising technology to meet the bandwidth and energy requirements of data communication in future technology nodes.
Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), 2009 IEEE International
Date of Conference: 7-9 Dec. 2009