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Massively scalable Kerr comb-driven silicon photonic link

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Gopal, Vignesh 
Daudlin, Stuart 
Gaeta, Alexander L. 


The growth of computing needs for artificial intelligence and machine learning is critically challenging data communications in today’s data-centre systems. Data movement, dominated by energy costs and limited ‘chip-escape’ bandwidth densities, is perhaps the singular factor determining the scalability of future systems. Using light to send information between compute nodes in such systems can dramatically increase the available bandwidth while simultaneously decreasing energy consumption. Through wavelength-division multiplexing with chip-based microresonator Kerr frequency combs, independent information channels can be encoded onto many distinct colours of light in the same optical fibre for massively parallel data transmission with low energy. Although previous high-bandwidth demonstrations have relied on benchtop equipment for filtering and modulating Kerr comb wavelength channels, data-centre interconnects require a compact on-chip form factor for these operations. Here we demonstrate a massively scalable chip-based silicon photonic data link using a Kerr comb source enabled by a new link architecture and experimentally show aggregate single-fibre data transmission of 512 Gb s−1 across 32 independent wavelength channels. The demonstrated architecture is fundamentally scalable to hundreds of wavelength channels, enabling massively parallel terabit-scale optical interconnects for future green hyperscale data centres.


Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by the US Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy under ENLITENED grant no. DE-AR000843 and in part by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under PIPES grant no. HR00111920014 (K.B., A.L.G. and M.L.). This work was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant no. NNCI-2025233). We thank P. Gaudette and D. C. Scott (Optelligent) for device packaging, AIM Photonics for chip fabrication, M. L. Fanto for assistance with chip imaging, M. Marshall for figure assistance, and Analog Photonics for PDK support. We also acknowledge fruitful conversations with X. Meng, N. C. Abrams, A. James, H. Yang and Y.-H. Hung.


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Nature Photonics

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Nature Publishing Group UK
United States Department of Defense | Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (HR00111920014, HR00111920014, HR00111920014)
DOE | Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy - U.S. Department of Energy) (DEAR000843, DEAR000843, DEAR000843)