Avicena demonstrates hottest optical link at OFC 2023
Avicena is showing a record-breaking 235°C optical link using its LightBundle™ technology
San Diego, CA — March 7, 2023 — Avicena, a privately held company headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is demonstrating the world’s hottest optical link operating at 235°C using its LightBundle™ communication architecture and technology at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) 2023 in San Diego, CA (https://www.ofcconference.org/en-us/home/). The Avicena LightBundle architecture breaks new ground by unlocking the performance of xPUs, memory and sensors, removing key constraints of bandwidth and proximity while simultaneously offering an order-of-magnitude reduction in power consumption.
Over the past three decades optical links have gradually replaced copper interconnects in many segments of wired communications due to their much longer reach, lower power requirements, lighter weight and immunity to EMI. Today most optical links use semiconductor edge-emitting lasers or vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). However, these lasers typically exhibit dramatic performance and lifetime reductions at operating temperatures above 85°C and are thus unable to meet the 5- to 10-year field lifetime requirements of many higher temperature applications. The lifetime limitations of these communications lasers are related to fundamental properties of the GaAs and InP semiconductors from which nearly all are made, and thus have proved very difficult to improve significantly despite decades of effort.
By contrast, Avicena’s LightBundle links use microLEDs made from Gallium Nitride (GaN). GaN microLEDs are much less sensitive than GaAs and InP lasers to operating temperature, specifically regarding performance and reliability. Combined with high energy efficiency and low cost, these attributes have allowed GaN LEDs to transform the lighting industry over the past decade. LightBundle technology is based on arrays of GaN microLEDs that leverage the LED lighting and display ecosystems, and can be integrated directly onto high performance CMOS ICs. Each microLED array is connected via a multi-core fiber cable to a matching array of CMOS-compatible PDs.
Now, Avicena has demonstrated LightBundle links operating at up to 235°C. This brings the benefits of optical interconnects to the harsh environments encountered in a wide variety of automotive, industrial, aerospace, and defense applications, while also bringing other benefits of the LightBundle architecture.
“We have already demonstrated the benefits of LightBundle links in data center, HPC, and ML/AI with bleeding edge power and density requirements,” says Chris Pfistner, VP of Sales & Marketing at Avicena, “We have now shown that the unique benefits of the GaN materials system in microLEDs extends to applications with operating temperatures that have traditionally been beyond the capabilities of optical interconnects. This is igniting interest among our partners and customers in numerous market segments in the automotive, defense, and aerospace industries.”
About the Technology
Today’s high-performance ICs use SerDes-based electrical links to achieve adequate IO density. However, the power consumption and bandwidth density of these electrical links degrade quickly with length. Conventional optical communications technologies developed for networking applications have been impractical for inter-processor and processor-memory interconnects due to their low bandwidth density, high power consumption, and high cost. Moreover, co-packaging existing laser sources with hot ASICs does not fit well for reliability reasons unless external laser sources (ELS) are used which increases complexity and cost.
“All of this is now changing,” says Rob Kalman, Avicena’s CTO and co-founder. “We are developing ultra-low power, high-density optical technology based on GaN microLED arrays optimized for high-speed interconnects. Our technology and inventions build on recent display industry advances and would have been impractical just a few years ago. Our innovative LightBundle™ architecture supports hundreds of lanes with per-lane speeds of 10Gbps or more to enable multi-Tbps links meeting the most demanding emerging compute interconnect needs while freeing designers to innovate beyond the bounds of today’s proximity requirements.”
The low power, high density, and low latency of LightBundle is well matched to chiplet interfaces like UCIe, OpenHBI, and BoW, and can also be used to rethink and enhance system architectures that are limited by the reach of existing compute interconnects like PCIe/CXL, and HBM/DDR/GDDR memory links.
Avicena at OFC 2023:
Avicena will be showing the LightBundle™ architecture and technology at the OFC exhibits in Booth #3950.
Avicena Tech Corp. is a privately held company located in Sunnyvale, CA, developing LightBundle, a next generation computing architecture for AI/ML, HPC, sensors, 5G wireless and aerospace applications. This unique, flexible ultra-low energy technology is based on microLEDs, offering both very high bandwidth and low latency. Now, system designers can disaggregate functions like compute and memory and radically grow system throughput. Avicena’s technology is a key building block in the evolution of networking and computing that will reduce the energy impact on our planet.
For more information, visit https://avicena.tech
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