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Kotura enters the 100G market with its silicon photonics transceiver

20 April 2012
Silicon photonics firm Kotura has unveiled its 100Gbps optical transceiver. Referred to as an optical engine, the 100Gbps chip is implemented as a 4x25Gbps design. The optical engine consumes 5W and has a reach of at least 10km, making it suitable for all likely requirements in the data centre including the 100 Gigabit Ethernet 100GBASE-LR4 standard.
Kotura demonstrated its optical engine to select customers at the recent OFC/ NFOEC show.  "We are not announcing the product yet," said Arlon Martin, vice president of marketing at Kotura.
Optical engines are used in several applications including pluggable modules on a system's face plate, the optics at each end of an active optical cable, and for board-mounted embedded applications.  
For such embedded applications, the optical engine is mounted deeper within the line card, close to high-speed chips, for example, with the signals routed over fibre to the face-plate connector. Using optics rather than high-speed copper traces simplifies the printed circuit board design. Embedded optical engines will also be used for future optical backplane-based platforms.
Kotura's silicon photonics-based optical engine integrates all the functions needed for the transmitter and receiver on-chip. These include the 25Gbps optical modulators and drivers, the 4:1 multiplexer and 1:4 demultiplexer and four photodetectors. To create the lasers, an array of four gain blocks is coupled to the chip. Each laser's wavelength, at around 1550nm, is set using on-chip gratings.
The 100Gbps chip, measuring about 5x6mm, is small enough to fit in the QSFP+ and future CFP4 optical modules, says Martin. The QSFP+ is likely to be the first application for Kotura's 100Gbps optical engine, where it will be used to connect switches within the data centre. 
By Roy Rubenstein