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The effect of propagation delay uncertainty on the speed of time-of-flight digital optoelectronic circuits

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1 Author(s)
Feehrer, J.R. ; Optoelectron. Comput. Syst. Center, Colorado Univ., Boulder, CO, USA

Time-of-flight synchronization is a new digital design methodology for optoelectronics that eliminates latches, allowing higher clock rates than alternative timing schemes. Synchronization is accomplished by precisely balancing connection delays. Circuits use pulse-mode signaling and clock gates to restore pulse timing. Many effective pipeline stages are created within combinational logic without extra hardware bounding the stages. Time-of-flight design principles are applicable to packet routing and sorting processors for optical interconnection networks. Circuits are unique because the clock rate is limited primarily by imprecision in propagation delay rather than absolute delay, as in circuits with latches. We develop a general model of delay uncertainty and focus on the effect that static and dynamic uncertainty accumulated over circuit paths has on the minimum feasible clock period. We present a method for traversing the circuit graph representation of a time-of-flight circuit to compute arrival time uncertainty at each pulse interaction point. Arrival time uncertainties give rise to pulse width and overlap constraints. From these constraints we formulate a constrained minimization to find the minimum clock period. We demonstrate our method on circuits implemented with 2×2 electro-optic switches and optical waveguides and find the electronic component of path uncertainty frequently limits speed

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Lightwave Technology, Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 12 )