CAREER: Circuit and System Techniques for High-Throughput, Energy-efficient Silicon-Photonic Interconnects in Advanced VLSI Systems

Vladimir Stojanovic

National Science Foundation

In this project our objective is to design highly-digital and robust photonic link transceiver circuits that can harness the high energy-efficiency and bandwidth-density potential of monolithic silicon photonic devices, while dealing with challenges of low-supply voltage, transistor and photonic device variability. While both device and architecture studies indicate the energy-efficiency and bandwidth potential of photonic devices, main challenges are now on design and integration of fast and robust transceiver and control circuits that fit in extremely aggressive energy-budget. This is very challenging due to low-supply voltages, wide range of device variations and noise in large digital chips. To best address these design challenges we will develop circuit and system techniques that take advantage of the unique properties of photonic devices: 1) Energy-efficient data encoding and nonlinear filtering techniques for resonant modulators, 2) Fast and energy-efficient circuits for charge-controlled modulation, regenerative data sensing and optical injection-locked clocking, 3) Energy-efficiency vs. link data-rate trade-offs for DWDM channelization, 4) Low-overhead link monitoring and calibration.