SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Kotura is weeks away from announcing a partnership with “a large CMOS foundry” that will make its silicon photonics chips. The news is one more sign companies including Cisco, Intel and Luxtera aim to ship the technology in 2014 as a disruptive, lower cost alternative to today’s 100 Gbits/second optics.
Kotura (Monterey Park, Calif.) is “in the early stages of the R&D process” with the unnamed foundry, said Arlon Martin, vice president of marketing, contracts and government affairs for Kotura. “There’s been a lot of work in the background, but we are not ready until late 2013 to sample product from them,” he said.
The privately-held company employs about 80 people and shipped its first silicon photonics chip in 2006. Since then sales have grown to about 100,000 units a year made in its own modest facility.
Kotura hopes to be in production in 2014 with a 4x5 mm module that pumps 100 Gbits/s over one optical fibre. It will consume about 3.5W and, thanks to its use of single-mode fibre, it can theoretically deliver distances of 20 meters to 2 kilometers.
The product uses four external lasers—its only optical components—modulating four 25 Gbit/s signals on to a single fibre with wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). The module also contains a third-party CMOS driver. Kotura’s CMOS chip, made in a 200nm process, uses some germanium for its light detector function.
Martin said the product could start selling for less than $1,000 in volumes and eventually decline to about $100. That compares with some estimates of as much as $100,000 per port for 100G Ethernet today and about $250 for 40G.
“Our fab is fine for volumes we are doing in telecom and great for us to get started, but a commercial fab lets us ramp” Martin said.