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GG1.01 - Ultralow Power Light-Emitting Diode Enabled On-Chip Optical Communications using a III-Nitride on a Silicon CMOS Process Integrated Platform 

In order to increase on-chip communication bandwidth, optical interconnects can potentially meet the strict requirements on low power consumption at high data rates. CMOS processing limits the choice of materials and processes. Therefore, the development of on-chip interconnect systems has focused on Si compatible materials with near IR light. More recently, wafer bonding and through-silicon vias (TSV) have been implemented using a Si interconnect platform. Here we propose an on-chip optical interconnect system, based on a III-Nitride or III-V photonic platform that is implemented on Si with CMOS electronics on the top surface and TSVs to connect to the underlying optical interconnect system. To reduce power consumption, we plan to use direct-modulated light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on a silicon substrate. Unlike laser based designs, incoherent LED-based links can only function with network-on-chip (NoC) architectures that can multiplex traffic flows atop 1-to-1 connections, i.e., where control and switching needs to be done with electrical routers. Optical routers based on resonance such as microrings are not applicable for filtering, modulating or switching. Wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) cannot be used to enable 1-to-many or many-to-many connections. Therefore, the LED enabled interconnects will be used for point-to-point connections at low power consumption. We are evaluating two materials system, III-Nitride and III-V based light emitters and detectors. The advantage of using InGaN/GaN LEDs is that the epitaxy technology of III-Nitrides on (111) silicon is more advanced than III-V epitaxy on Si substrates. Applications of III-Nitrides in solid-state lighting have been widely used and commercialized. For III-Nitrides, the optical devices and the link will be fabricated on Si (111) substrates before any electrical components are fabricated. Similarly, the III-V devices will be based on a Ge-on-Si substrate. CMOS processing and components will be integrated on the processed optical link wafer via wafer bonding technology and back-of-end-line processing. We will present system simulation, evaluation, and preliminary results of InGaN multiple-quantum-well (MQW) LEDs and photodetectors. Initial results indicate low power-consumption and promising application of this technology as on-chip optical interconnects for many-core processors. 

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