ANTONY SAVVAS DATACENTRE LASERS
LASER TECHNOLOGY: FOCUSING ON IMPROVED DATA TRANSPORT
For efficiently moving data across data centres and networks, laser technology is key. Antony Savvas looks at the latest developments in a growing market, fuelled by newer use cases in transport, health, defence, manufacturing and other sectors.
L aser market sales are expected to grow from US$11.7 billion in 2020 to US$17.6 billion by 2025, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.6%. MarketandMarkets says some of the key laser market players include Coherent (US), IPG Photonics (US), TRUMPF (Germany), Lumentum (US), Jenoptik (Germany), Novanta (US), Lumibird (France), Laser Star (US), Epilog Laser (US), Han’s Laser (China), MKS Instruments (US), 600 Group (UK), Eurolasers (Germany), Bystronic Lasers (Switzerland), Toptica Photonics (Germany), Photonics Industries (US), Focuslight Technologies (China), Corning Incorporated (US) and Access Lasers (US). MARKET DEVELOPMENTS Developments in the market include Coherent launching a switchable adjustable ring mode (ARM) fibre laser, with the ability to sequentially power two separate processes or workstations, at the end of 2019. And in January 2020, Jenoptik launched F-theta lenses that are suitable for ultra-short pulse lasers. More recently, in September 2021, TRUMPF Photonic Components, a manufacturer of VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers) and photodiode solutions, revealed the new product platform ViBO (VCSEL with integrated Backside Optics).
SEMTECH Another market player is Semtech, and in August 2021, it announced full production availability for its PAM4 CDR chipset for 100G data centre optical links. The GN2538 and GN2539 Tri-Edge CDR chipset is designed to enable next generation data centre interconnectivity over multi-mode fibres. The GN2538 is a dual channel 50G PAM4 CDR with integrated VCSEL drivers. And the GN2539 is a dual channel 50G PAM4 CDR with integrated linear transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs). The offering is designed to allow major data centres to upgrade their intra-data centre interconnects and enhance overall performance, says Semtech. Semtech’s Tri- Edge CDR solutions offer low power and reduced latency to enable cost efficient and sustainable data transfer, despite growing data rates. The laser driver integrated in the GN2538 includes proprietary VCSEL compensation to enable a wide range of VCSEL options with fully adaptive input equalisation and easy start up. CHANGING THE BUILD Claire Besançon, a research scientist at Nokia Bell Labs, is looking at how full integration between laser arrays and integrated circuits may change things for the better. She says, “Fibre is rapidly making its way into more places and more end devices. Meanwhile fibre technologies are
This array technology supports a new generation of illumination devices that are inherently eye-safe over the whole product lifetime, as the diffuser optics are monolithically incorporated into the laser array. The company says the form factor is significantly reduced compared to other hybrid VCSEL package solutions, and ViBO can be directly SMD mounted onto a board or driver IC without additional wire bonding. This supports, for instance, easier integration under smartphone displays, and can be used in automotive applications. With coplanar contact designs, the devices can be flip-chip mounted, yielding the most compact integration with the shortest electrical path, and thus minimum electrical inductance. This design setup allows short pulses, high modulation speed and the flexibility of addressing multiple channels or even selected segments on the chip. “ViBO has superior properties as well as cost advantages compared to standard top-emitting devices that are combined with external optics,” says Ralph Gudde, VP of marketing and sales at TRUMPF. “Using ViBO as a light source for 3D sensing applications offers more flexibility and freedom in design for its integration, as the footprint and the height are significantly smaller.”
| ISSUE 28 | Q1 2022
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