With the exponential growth of compute power and memory capacity comes a commensurate need for I/O bandwidth – which can only be met by further improving optical links.
The current evolution in computing points to an exponential demand for bandwidth, far into the future. This will require developing new interconnect solutions between all levels of computer systems: optical solutions that allow for a denser and faster data connection than purely electrical interconnects.
In its optical I/O program, imec develops the technology to enable these future optical interconnects. In the first place, they’re meant for high-performance and data center systems, and for rack-to-rack, within-rack, and within-board connections. One of the key challenges is making cost-efficient packages. To do so, imec is looking at wafer-scale solutions leveraging the methods developed in its 3D system integration program.
Imec’s scientists tackle the challenge along three dimensions at the same time. In addition to bandwidth scaling, an equally impressive reduction in power consumption (10x) and cost per bit (10-100x) are essential to drive a sustained improvement.
These are some of imec’s innovations to enable the next generation of optical interconnects.
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