World’s first MIPI® D-PHY optical bridge IC for mobile phones

March 3, 2011 – Silicon Line GmbH, a leading provider of ultra-low power analogue ICs, today announced that it has brought to market the SL83014, an optical bridge IC targeted at mobile phones using the latest MIPI® Alliance based D-PHY standard. The IC is used to optically connect displays, cameras and application processors and enables the replacement of traditional electrical connectors with optical connectors.

Data rates inside a mobile phone are exploding due to consumer demand for high resolution displays, full HD video cameras and 3D displays and cameras. These extremely high data rates generate significant EMI when traditional electrical cables are used to transport the data. This can degrade the RF performance of the phone. Optical connectors do not suffer from these EMI issues. In addition, optical connectors are thin, small and flexible and so enable slim form factor designs and also designs with moving parts such as hinges or sliders.

“We expect to see the first mobile phones using optical connectors entering the market in 2011”, says Ian Jackson, Senior Manager Sales and Marketing at Silicon Line. “Mobile phone manufacturers are driving the requirements for optical link technology and Silicon Line is pleased to enable this trend”, he added.

“Continued development around the MIPI D-PHY speaks to the strength of the specification”, said Joel Huloux, Chairman of the Board for MIPI Alliance. “We are pleased to see the technology leveraged in optical bridge applications such as Silicon Line’s.”

The SL83014 can be configured as a serializer or a de-serializer. When used as a serializer the SL83014 accepts up to 4 data lanes and a clock lane from a D-PHY master device and serializes the data for transfer over a high speed optical link. When used as a de-serializer the SL83014 accepts the data from the high speed optical link and de-serializes the data into a maximum of 4 data lanes and a clock lane which are then connected to a D-PHY slave device. In this way optical D-PHY connectors can be used instead of electrical connectors.

Both HS (high speed, from 80 Mbps to 1 Gbps) and LP (low power, up to 10 Mbps) forward data transfer modes are supported. The SL83014 also includes an optional galvanic link feature which can be used for bi-directional LP data transfer. The ultra-low power consumption of SL83014 makes it ideally suited for use within mobile phones.

An SL83014 based optical bridge can be used to connect an application processor to a display in order to transmit image data to the display using the MIPI® Alliance DSI (Display Serial Interface) standard. It can also be used to connect a camera module to the applications processor in order to transmit image data to the applications processor using the MIPI® Alliance CSI (Camera Serial Interface) standard.

A complete D-PHY optical bridge module can be constructed using the SL83014 together with the SL82026T VCSEL driver and SL82016e transimpedance amplifier ICs from Silicon Line.

The SL83014 is available as bare die or packaged in a very small micro-BGA package and is sampling now.