DENVER -- The Optoelectronics Industry Development Association took a horizontal environmental slash across several disciplines last week, holding a "Green Photonics Forum" here to give designers in opto-transceivers, solar PV cells, LEDs, and solid-state lighting a common platform to share ideas. While some attendees said they felt overwhelmed with learning so much outside their field of endeavor, many said they were surprised at the commonality of issues involving thin-film manufacturability, device power dissipation, and the competing trends of new technologies to green and "de-green" simultaneously.
A common concern of many developers was the coming crisis of the data center. Rick Dodd, vice president of product marketing at Infinera Corp., said that if long-haul backbones move to 100-Gbit/sec Dense Wave Division Multiplexing links, they will need 3.3 GW of electricity, requiring seven new medium-sized power plants - and that does not include power for metro fiber networks, IP routers in the backbones, or the cooling systems for major Internet peering centers.
Currently, the total power consumed by servers alone in data centers is 0.6 percent of the entire U.S. electricity consumption, said Dave D'Andrea, director of marketing at Lightwire. That rises to 1.2 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption when cooling and support systems are included. That's why developers of short-reach VCSELs and CMOS-based transceivers are concerned with the power dissipation of each high-speed link.