Qualitative comparison of MQW modulator and VCSEL based OE-VLSI: a systems perspective

A particularly useful platform for two dimensional optical interconnects is Optoelectronic VLSI (OE-VLSI). OE-VLSI consists of the hybrid integration of (at least) thousands of optical sources or modulators, optical detectors, and silicon VLSI circuitry. While a VCSEL based OE-VLSI platform is currently desired by many working in the field, a MQW modulator based platform is currently commercially available with Gb/s I/O speeds, up to 65 k optical I/O and potential aggregate I/O bandwidths exceeding a terabit per second. VCSEL based OE-VLSI has recently achieved the integration of 256 VCSELs on a silicon driver, with only one VCSEL operating concurrently, and no integrated detectors. The technological challenges in manufacturing a usable VCSEL based OE-VLSI platform are formidable, yet, the desire by many for this technology over the modulator based technology remains. Quantitative analysis have been performed that compare the overall dissipation of VCSEL and modulator based systems. In this talk, I will examine, qualitatively, the issues of building systems with both technologies, assuming of course, that a VCSEL based OE-VLSI platform will one day exist

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