Mellanox leads the European plaCMOS project

Mellanox Technologies from Yoqneam, Israel, revealed today that it is the coordinator of the plaCMOS is a research project on photonic integration, supported by the Horizon2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation of the European Commission. This revolutionary project may shape a new direction for the Silicon Photonics Industry. The goal of the PlaCMOS project is to develop and demonstrate the next generation optical-electronic CMOS platform that will enable transceivers capable of real-time communication with data rates exceeding 200 Gb/s.

PlaCMOS will be based on the latest BiCMOS technology, and co-integrate it with a ferroelectric plasmonic modulator and a SiGe detector technology. By exploiting plasmonics rather than photonics, plaCMOS will not only be able to extend the bandwidth far beyond 100 GHz but also reduce the footprint of Photonics to the micrometer scale.

The wonder of Plasmonics

Plasmonics deals with the interaction between electromagnetic field and free electrons in a metal. Since electrons in thin films metals such as Gold and Silver  can be excited by the electric component of light, it is possible to directly determine the wavelength of light be electric fields created via electric circuitry.

The PlaCMOS project is planning a new chip, that includes all the analog, digital and optics in a single die and will be manufactured in a standard CMOS process. The technology demonstrator will be based on BiCMOS technology, a ferroelectric plasmonic modulator and a SiGe detector. It will be a single channel 200 Gb/s NRZ transmitter and receiver pair, and an ultra-compact 4×50 Gb/s transceiver directly interfacing a multicore fiber. Later, a full switch will be built in Mellanox facility in Israel.

The other participants in the program include Micram Microelectronic GmbH from Germany, The IHP institute from Germany, IBM Research GmbH from Switzerland, ETH Institute from Switzerland, Saarland University (Germany) and The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).

For more information: PlaCMOS