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Silicon Photonics Merging Ahead

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RoyHR
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Re: Moore's Law
RoyHR   2/1/2017 12:28:46 AM
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Dear Maury, Thanks for the comment and again apologies for the slow answer. Moore's law is certainly slowing and the signs are evident. We also agree that CMOS process technology will not come to a grinding halt and, as you say, the semiconductor industry has demonstrated remarkable inventiveness and this will continue. But this slowing down will shift the focus towards scaling in different ways: like using silicon photonics to get data on and off chips, like interconnecting chips in packaged modules, and enabling new ways for systems to be designed. As MIT silicon photonics luminary Prof. Kimerling says: silicon photonics will be the way to scale after [CMOS] dimensional shrink. Talking of Moore's law, have you seen the recent book: "The Long Arm of Moore's Law" by Cyrus Mody? Lastly, we are delighted you liked our book and thank you for the kind words

RoyHR
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Re: Silicon Photonics--so many choices
RoyHR   2/1/2017 12:21:17 AM
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Dear eafpres1, Thanks for commenting and apologies for the delayed response. We agree it is still early for silicon photonics overall yet significant progress has been made in recent years. The point you make regarding the many building blocks for integrated photonics is a valid one. Silicon photonics companies continue to optimise their custom solutions and that doesn't help the wider uptake of the technology. The US AIM Photonics venture is important is that respect in giving non-silicon photonics specialists a home to develop designs. We also make this point in the book that once the chip industry requires silicon photonics, CMOS foundries will become the ones that will invest and drive silicon photonics roadmaps and process releases. To your point about early players like Luxtera and Intel running the risk of being behind later fabless designs is certainly possible but they too continue to evolve their silicon photonics IP and design know-how. Acacia, for example, is onto its third generation coherent receiver silicon photonics chip - its first was released in 2014. Meanwhile, these companies being early players have accumulated huge expertise, not just in their libraries but in system design, manufacturing and packaging.

eafpres1
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Silicon Photonics--so many choices
eafpres1   1/12/2017 1:48:34 PM
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Hi Roy--thanks for the post.  It has been an interesting few years for Silicon Photonics.  I have the opinion that it is still very early; the M&A and Intel and IBM status notwithstanding.  My motivation comes from analyzing a huge amount of the R&D literature both from all the commercial folks but also the much larger group of universities doing improtant work.  There are so many possible building blocks for a deeply integrated photnics IC that I think it will be years, possibly 10, before the "known, good, scaleable" choices are ironed out.  From a business perspective, it feels to me that the early ins (like Intel, and of course Luxtera) risk having later fabless designs come in with more performance, lower power, etc.  Of course that depends on ongoing advancement of open fabs, which is not certain either.

Maury Wood
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Moore's Law
Maury Wood   1/11/2017 3:19:21 PM
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Daryl and Roy, do you feel strongly that Moore's Law is coming to an end (a theme that repeats in your excellent book), or merely slowing?  While I tend to agree that this has limited impact on your overall trends forecast for silicon photonics, it is also hard to imagine that CMOS process technology advances will come to a grinding halt; the semiconductor industry has demonstrated remarkable inventiveness.  Your prediction that silicon photonics integration will likely occur in switch chips from Broadcom and others by 2020 is incisive; it will be interesting to see how Broadcom acquires the requisite expertise to make this leap, and whether integration of III-V compound semiconductors will be necessary for the light sources.

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