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The concept of a three-dimensionally interconnected bidirectional optical backplane for a high performance system containing multichip module boards is introduced. The backplane reported here employs one-dimensional (1-D) and two-dimensional (2-D) vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), and photodetector arrays as transceivers. By integrating VCSEL, lens, doubly multiplexed holographic gratings, and photodetector arrays, we have demonstrated this architecture while using the third dimension as the signal propagating direction. Packaging related issues such as misalignment, crosstalk, and signal-to-noise ratio are studied. The frequency response of our device shows a bandwidth of 2.5 THz. Eye diagrams for a single bus line up to 1.5 GHz are demonstrated with clear eyes. An aggregate bandwidth of 6 GHz is thus confirmed with 2/spl times/2 bus lines.