Advanced QPSK Optical Modulators Using Lithium Niobate Thin Films
Current and future data centers and high-performance computing (HPC) centers need optical communication links to transmit the aggregate data rates that are generated by servers. For these, applications current optical gears that are designed for telecommunication applications are expensive, take large space and do not match to small form factor, low power and inexpensive transceiver requirements. Optical transceivers that operate at 100 GigE and higher need novel optical devices that can modulate and de-modulate amplitude and phase of optical signals with small form factors and at low cost. Statement of How this Problem or Situation is Being Addressed Advanced modulation formats are currently being used in telecommunication applications. QPSK has been the most successful modulation format that is currently used in telecommunication optical transceivers. QPSK modulators are, however, very large and cannot be used for small form factor optical transceivers for data centers. Partow Technologies has developed a novel platform based on high indexcontrast lithium niobate optical waveguides that allows complicated optical circuits to be made in small form factors. In this project Partow will leverage this technology to construct QPSK optical modulators that can be used for small form-factor optical transceivers to be used for data center and HPC applications. What to be done in phase I The company will design a QPSK modulator, will fabricate the modulator and will test the modulator to demonstrate its functionality using its thin film lithium niobate on silicon technology. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Optical modulators have many applications in various engineering fields, in addition to digital optical communication. These applications include RF over fiber applications such as cable TV, Radar, remote sensing, phased-array antennas, and space and airborne RF signal distribution. The modulators also have applications in various sensing systems such as fiber-optic gyroscopes, fiber-optic distributed sensing systems and optical metrology applications. Key Words Optical modulator, photonics, optical transceiver, integrate optics, lithium niobate Summary for Members of Congress Optical devices that can transmit data between computers in data centers will be developed. The devices will be used in optical transceivers that will connect computers at very high speeds.