Silicon Photonics Technology for the use in Access Optical Networks

Project: Research

Project Details


PhD- Project
Microelectronics has proved to be extremely powerful technology platform based on Silicon chips making complex microprocessors, large memory circuits, and other digital and analog electronics. Introduction of the Silicon-on-Insulator (SoI) technology demonstrated that photonic functions can be integrated onto this technology platform making use of silicon-based Photonic Integrated Circuits (SiPhICs). Both active and passive optical components can be connected using silicon waveguides making photonics circuits capable of establishing very fast communication between, circuit boards; chips on a board; or even within single chips, e.g. connecting different cores of a microprocessor. Optical data transmission allows higher data rates and also eliminates problems resulting from electromagnetic interference. The Silicon Photonics technology is considered as a future candidate for fibre to the home (FTTH) applications.
This project requires investigating and exploring Silicon Photonics technology implementing active/passive optical devices enabling Tb/s routing capability in optical networks. Since last ten years several research organisations (i.e. Intel, NTT, CISCO etc.) have shown promising experimental results achieving 40Gb/s transmission rates implementing optical devices with Silicon Photonics. The increasing bandwidths demand in access network is currently met by exiting off-the- shelves passive optical networking (PON) technologies such FTTH/ FTTC/ FTTB, which have led to the mushrooming of many high revenue web based applications such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) etc. For Fibre-to-the-X (FTTx) networks, the optical access networks require a large number of network devices (both active and passive). In particular, for energy-efficiency, the main devices at customer’s premises alone account for more than half of an entire network’s power consumption and cost is another parameter making all-optical reach limited to only large organisations. For this reason, passive devices essentially reduce the overall power consumption of the devices needed by access networks (i.e. passive optical networks) and further innovation can be made by means of integrating silicon photonics circuits and using fewer parts and active components in the access networks.
The optical access technology promises the highest volumes of any telecom space and due to wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) it is considered as the most promising bandwidth-scalable solution, which helps integration and functionality to achieve key technologies for access networks. The Silicon Photonics is the answer for long term solutions, because of its advantages being reliable integration and functionality at low cost.

Layman's description

Digital Electronics has revolutionised the world of Telecommunication Systems and Networks. The ever decreasing prices of Computers, HD-Tv, LED TV, Digital Cameras, Mobile phones, Gaming devices and Internet access are the obvious examples. This happened due to the revolution in integrated circuits (ICs) technology. However, there is a limit when it comes to energy, efficiency, performance and data handling capabilities of components, devices, their integration. The all-optical technology is the ultimate solution but this is not viable being very expensive, however; mixed technology approaches have been experimented with good revenues for business providing much needed services to large number of customers. One simple solution is to marry existing silicon ICs technology with optical, harvesting the benefits from both. This not only meets the near future high-data rate demands but also offer significant savings to industry when full-potential of both silicon and photonics industries is utilised.

Key findings

• Silicon Photonics for the use in Access Networks
• Integration of Silicon Photonics for large volume production of devices for the use in access networks
• Network optimisation based on WDM-PONs for Silicon Photonics Access Networks
• Road to Silicon Photonics: Future access networks and current fabrication issues
Short titleSilicon Photonics Access Networks
StatusNot started


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