Ayar Labs’ technology unveiling at OFC 2023

by LK Bhupathi – Earlier this month, I attended the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC), which took place in San Diego, March 5-9, 2023. Ayar Labs has had a presence at OFC for many years, attending functions, sitting on panels, and participating in presentations and workshops. However, this is the first time our company hosted a booth in which we held live demonstrations of our optical I/O solution. We also featured our technologies in our ecosystem partners’ booths, including GlobalFoundriesQuantifi Photonics, and Sivers Photonics.

I am delighted to report that the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the excitement generated by our live demonstration showing 4-terabits per second (Tbps) chip-to-chip data transfer, visitors were also excited by the revealing of a prototype of our product with Intel’s detachable optical connector at the package-edge.

For those outside of the photonics/optics arena, OFC is the largest event in the world for optical communications and networking professionals. For almost 50 years, attendees have come from four corners of the globe to learn, teach, and drive the future of optical communications.

In the early days of OFC, the primary focus was on long-distance optical communications. More recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the desire for shorter-range optical communications for usage in data centers, for example. This started with rack-to-rack communication, then board-to-board, and—most recently—chip-to-chip.

One of the things we discovered at this year’s OFC was that many attendees remain unfamiliar with the diversity among the different chip-to-chip optical interconnect technologies. The following illustration, which comes from the Co-Packaged Optics 2023—Focus Data Centers report published by Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, provides a good overview of the evolution and positioning of the various optical technologies.