World-record data rate for intra-data center communications

Plasmonic modulators enabled a new world-record demonstration for intra-data center and rack-to-rack communication. The work “222 GBaud On-Off keying transmitter using ultra-high-speed 2:1-selector and plasmonic modulator on silicon photonics” was presented as a post-deadline paper at the 45th European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC 2019) in Dublin. It demonstrates how plasmonics brings highest data rates to data centers using low-cost intensity modulation / direct detection schemes.  

The plasmonic Mach-Zehnder modulator was directly driven by III-V lab’s InP DHPT 2:1 selector, without the need of any expensive driving amplifiers. The system was tested in an intra-data center, rack-to-rack scenario by Nokia Bell Labs.  

The work was made possible by the collaboration of ETH Zürich, University of Washington, Nokia Bell Labs, III-V Lab, and Polariton Technologies.