World-Record: 2.5 Gb/s Optical Link Consuming Less Than 10 mW

January 22, 2008 – Silicon Line GmbH introduces an ultra-low power physical layer chipset for optical data transmission

Silicon Line GmbH, a German fabless analog IC company, today announced the release of a 2.5 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) chipset comprising a transimpedance amplifier (TIA) with integrated limiting amplifier and a Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) driver. The complete chipset exhibits a total power dissipation of below 10 mW, only. This power number includes all necessary currents through the laser as well as the power dissipated by the resistive output load connected to the TIA. The own power need of the VCSEL driver (SL82026) itself is far below 1 mW and that of the transimpedance amplifier (SL82016) far below 5 mW.

“Optical data transmission based on polymer optical fibers or waveguides becomes more and more prevalent.” said Holger Hoeltke, Managing Director at Silicon Line. “Especially in mobile or portable electronics, where massive EMI-constrains, bandwidth requirements and mechanical issues challenge the traditional physical layer design, ultra-low power optical data transmission comes in as perfect alternative.
With its PHY-layer chipset Silicon Line provides an enabling technology into these markets.”

The chipset SL82016 / SL82026 features sub-LVDS I/Os, which provide a differential output voltage of 200 mV.

Upon request, Silicon Line provides to its VCSEL-driver a temperature controller, which automatically maintains over a wide temperature range a given extinction ratio for the VCSEL.

Silicon Line’s TIA, the SL82016, works together with either a GaAs photodiode or a Si photodiode. With a minimum input current of 20 µApp, the SL82016 allows for an optical input sensitivity of -16 dBm at a BER of 10-12 at 2.5 Gbps.

“Due to their excellent power efficiency, both chips may also be used for parallel optical links.” said Martin Groepl, Silicon Line’s Technical Director. “With only a few adaptations we may provide them as one-dimensional or two-dimensional arrays. With that they’re suitable for high-speed board-to-board, backplane or chip-to-chip connections.”

The SL82016 as well as the SL82026 exhibit a chip area of less than 0.5 mm². Both ICs are available in bare die form. Sampling of the ICs starts now.