PORTLAND, Ore.–A new vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology from VI Systems aims to extend the reach of cheap plastic fiber optics, with scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology reporting successful operation at 25 Gbits per second.
VI Systems (Berlin) reports that it has achieved 40 Gbit/s in the lab and is aiming for 100 Gbit/s performance.
Georgia Tech's demonstration used VI Systems' VCSEL at 850 nanometers wavelength, transmitting at 25 Gbit/s over a long 100 meter plastic fiber. This compares to plastic fibers typical use for shorter runs and 650 nanometers wavelengths at speeds up to 1 Gbit/s in home networks and as slow as 50 Mbit/s for in-car automotive networks. As a result, VI System predicts that these and similar cost-sensitive applications can now boost their performance up to the 40-to-100 Gbit/s range.
Georgia Tech reported that its transmission demonstrations were error free over cables with 80-micron core plastic optical fiber using relaxed coupling tolerances as high as 35 microns. In the lab, VI Systems reports speeds up to 40 Gbits/s when coupled with high-speed photodetectors and transimpedance amplifiers.
Individual VCSELs fit on a 250 micron square die, but can also be obtained from VI Systems in 1-by-4 or 1-by-12 arrays for proprietary home and automotive networks, as well as for Fibre Channel, Infiniband and other high-speed applications.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.