CompoundTek adds 106Gbps PAM4 MZI Si modulator to enhanced PDK

Singapore-based silicon photonic (SiPh) foundry services provider CompoundTek has added a high-speed 106Gbps PAM4 Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) silicon modulator to its intellectual property (IP) process design kit (PDK).

Offering capabilities in 400G/600G/800G applications for an industry where more than two iterations to meet specifications are a norm, the new modulator enables high levels of productivity, says CompoundTek. Further minimizing manufacturing risk with fewer re-spins, customers can expect improved yield results in a better return on investment and accelerated time-to-market, the firm adds.

This innovation is in line with CompoundTek’s services expansion goals, ensuring we bring to customers solutions that save both time and significant investment dollars while meeting performance metrics throughout their prototype-to-market journey,” says chief operating officer K.S.Ang. “With this transceiver-focused IP design, customers looking to strengthen their 400G-800G capabilities and reduce the number of iterations can be assured that critical pain points are addressed.”

Design flows continue to mature to meet the cost and scalability demands of manufacturing necessary for broad commercial markets. Silicon photonic integrated circuits are more widespread, particularly in applications related to datacom, radio frequency (RF) and sensing, says CompoundTek. In 2019, shipments of silicon photonic transceivers for data-centers reached almost 3.5 million units, with revenue of about US$364m attributed largely to the development of silicon photonics transceivers for telecom/datacom applications (accoding to Yole Développement’s report ‘Silicon Photonics Market and Technology 2020’).

The modulator is a critical integral component in transceiver design, and availability of the 106Gbps PAM4 MZI Si modulator will accelerate the development of customers’ next-generation silicon photonic products, specifically in the transceiver market, CompoundTek reckons.

The performance specification for the 106Gbps PAM4 MZI Si modulator has been verified both in simulation and fabricated on-chip through CompoundTek’s proprietary process flow, with measurements undertaken by a third-party independent company. Showing test results that are claimed to be above the typical industry standard, the 2.5mm-length modulator’s typical reach is 3dB OE bandwidth of 40GHz @ 4V, 3.25dB loss, 4dB extinction ratio (ER) with modulator efficiency of Recognizing its potential, a commercial customer has recently licenced this special IP block, leveraging CompoundTek’s post-fab copper (Cu) pillars/bump integration with suspended edge coupler, and silicon deep trench for electronic circuits integration.

Since its launch in 2017, CompoundTek has been involved with more than 20 global commercial customers and over 20 research institutes and universities in various applications such as telecoms, automotive LIDAR sensor, datacoms, bio-sensing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and smart sensors. It aims to tap into rapidly growing markets, led by the demand from global network traffic such as applications in cloud, video streaming, and Internet of Things (IoT), with a focus in the SiPh transceiver market, which is expected to be worth US$3.6bn in 2025 (with 24 million units shipped). The firm reckons that its solutions portfolio and foundry capabilities are well positioned to leverage increased demand for data-center storage and bandwidth as the industry transitions from the current 100G data rate to next-generation 400G or higher in the next five years.

CompoundTek is scheduled to showcase its solutions at the 22nd China International Optoelectronic Exposition (CIOE 2020) at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Centre (9-11 September).