Conference paper

Monolithic silicon photonics in a sub-100nm SOI CMOS microprocessor foundry: Progress from devices to systems

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We review recent progress of an effort led by the Stojanović (UC Berkeley), Ram (MIT) and Popović (CU Boulder) research groups to enable the design of photonic devices, and complete on-chip electro-optic systems and interfaces, directly in standard microelectronics CMOS processes in a microprocessor foundry, with no in-foundry process modifications. This approach allows tight and large-scale monolithic integration of silicon photonics with state-of-the-art (sub-100nm-node) microelectronics, here a 45nm SOI CMOS process. It enables natural scale-up to manufacturing, and rapid advances in device design due to process repeatability. The initial driver application was addressing the processor-to-memory communication energy bottleneck. Device results include 5Gbps modulators based on an interleaved junction that take advantage of the high resolution of the sub-100nm CMOS process. We demonstrate operation at 5fJ/bit with 1.5dB insertion loss and 8dB extinction ratio. We also demonstrate the first infrared detectors in a zero-change CMOS process, using absorption in transistor source/drain SiGe stressors. Subsystems described include the first monolithically integrated electronic-photonic transmitter on chip (modulator+driver) with 20-70fJ/bit wall plug energy/bit (2-3.5Gbps), to our knowledge the lowest transmitter energy demonstrated to date. We also demonstrate native-process infrared receivers at 220fJ/bit (5Gbps). These are encouraging signs for the prospects of monolithic electronics-photonics integration. Beyond processor-to-memory interconnects, our approach to photonics as a "More-than- Moore" technology inside advanced CMOS promises to enable VLSI electronic-photonic chip platforms tailored to a vast array of emerging applications, from optical and acoustic sensing, high-speed signal processing, RF and optical metrology and clocks, through to analog computation and quantum technology.