Sunday, November 19, 2023

IOWN: Advancements in Thin-film Lithium Niobate Photonics

A panel discussion at last week’s IOWN Acceleration event, hosted by NTT in Japan, focused on how Thin-film Lithium Niobate (TFLN) photonics aims to combine the scalability of silicon with the performance of lithium niobate.

IOWN stands for the "Innovative Optical and Wireless Network" and is an initiative led by NTT to pursue a forward-looking vision for a new kind of information infrastructure. One of the central technologies in IOWN is advanced photonics.

Speaking on the panel were:
  • Bob Byer, Professor Emeritus of Applied Physics at Stanford University and Distinguished Scientist, Physics & Informatics Laboratories, NTT Research
  • Timothy McKenna, Principal Scientist, Physics & Informatics Laboratories at NTT Research
Key topics of discussion included
  • The growing market for TFNP
  • Recent breakthroughs allow the manufacturing of lithium niobate with nanometer precision, previously impossible
  • TFLN allows for the creation of new types of photonic integrated circuits (PiCs)   
  • Current technologies based on silicon photonics will struggle at link speeds above 1 Tbps
  • How AI cluster networks will flatten with optical transceivers embedded in accelerators, forming a mesh network with fewer optical switches
  • In 5-10 years, TFLN photonics may dramatically change the compute landscape in another way — All optical compute accelerators that go beyond CMOS

Registration required for watching the presentations:

Kulicke and Soffa books order for SiPH Co-Packaged Optics

 Singapore-based Kulicke and Soffa Industries, which is known for designing, manufacturing, and servicing equipment used in the assembly of semiconductor devices, confirmed the release of multiple orders for its Thermocompression Bonding (TCB) solutions, primarily supporting Silicon Photonics (SiPh) based Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) applications deployed in high-bandwidth networking transceivers. K&S anticipates a series of follow on CPO orders to support aggressive capacity expansion plans throughout fiscal years 2024 and 2025. 

"Our capable, performance-focused advanced packaging solutions are driving significant market interest, as they efficiently address many emerging assembly challenges. Our unique solutions provide precision control and critical features, which unlock meaningful value for the most challenging optical, high-volume logic and emerging heterogeneous applications. These recent orders highlight our leadership in TCB, but also validate the growth potential of the emerging advanced packaging marketplace," said John Molnar, K&S Vice President & General Manager, Advanced Solutions.

Introducing the Advanced Photonics Coalition

A new Advanced Photonics Coalition was announced at the OpticaPhotonic-Enabled Cloud Computing Industry Summit, which was hosted at Juniper Networks’ Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale, California.

Picking up on the previous Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO), APC aims to foster cooperation across all corners of the ecosystem.

“Our mission is for optical fabs to be leading and creating the world’s best technology in terms of reliability, validation, and trust. This allows for the creation of building blocks for Silicon Photonics ICs that are put together in an assured way using foundry Process Development Kit to accelerate production.”

With billions of dollars of funding being invested in new semiconductor fabs, the time has come for the industry to adopt best practices for integrating advanced photonics. 

Jeffrey Maki, Distinguished Engineer at Juniper Networks and a member of the board at the Advanced Photonics Coalition (formerly the Consortium for On-board Optics),  talks about the need for collaboration to ensure a more open and secure supply chain.

The newly-launched Advanced Photonics Coalition has just published its mission charter and is inviting collaboration from design firms and equipment OEMs through manufacturing and packaging.

MediaTek debuts RedCap modem chipset

MediaTek has unveiled its T300 series, the world's first 6nm Radio Frequency System-On-Chip (RFSOC) designed specifically for RedCap applications. 

The RedCap (reduced capability) specifications, part of the 3GPP Release 17,  are aimed at devices that do not need the full capabilities of standard 5G NR. These devices have reduced complexity, making them more cost-effective and energy-efficient.

The MediaTek T300 series is notable for its use of the highly efficient 6nm process technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). This leading-edge fabrication process enables the T300 series to deliver enhanced performance and efficiency, making it a pioneering solution in the RedCap domain.

At the heart of the MediaTek T300 series is a single-core Arm Cortex-A35 processor. This integration results in a more compact Printed Circuit Board (PCB) area, which is a critical factor for manufacturers looking to create sleek, innovative designs for a variety of applications.

The chipset supports up to 227 Mbps downlink and 122 Mbps uplink data rates, ensuring robust and reliable connectivity for RedCap devices. This capability is particularly important in a market segment where efficient and stable data transmission is vital for the success of IoT devices and other connected technologies.

"Our RedCap solutions are a significant part of our mission to democratize 5G, providing our customers the ability to optimize components and deliver 5G-enabled devices from a range of applications and a range of price points," said JC Hsu, Corporate Senior Vice President at MediaTek. "The migration to 5G RedCap will replace legacy 4G/LTE solutions, offering significantly better power efficiency and more reliable user experiences compared to leading edge 5G eMMB modem solutions and legacy 4G LTE Cat 4 and Cat 6 devices." Copilot to accelerate Chip Design

A newly introduced Copilot, the result of a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to integrate Azure OpenAI Service, aims to accelerate the design process for semiconductors. 

Azure OpenAI Service gives customers access to OpenAI's large language models (LLMs) with the enterprise-ready capabilities of Microsoft Azure. Copilot brings together Azure OpenAI Service generative AI capabilities with Synopsys' chip design tools and IP to help engineering teams accelerate time to market and address systemic complexity through the power of conversational intelligence.

"The semiconductor industry is racing to develop faster, more efficient, and optimized computing, which is also driving complexity. At the same time, we're facing a projected 15% to 30% workforce gap for chip design engineers by 2030," said Shankar Krishnamoorthy, general manager of the Synopsys EDA Group. "AI-driven design can help address these challenges. Synopsys pioneered AI-driven design with our EDA suite. Now, working collaboratively with Microsoft, we're taking AI-driven design to the next level with generative capability such as conversational intelligence delivered in this first Copilot.",-Breakthrough-GenAI-Capability-to-Accelerate-Chip-Design

MediaTek expands Wi-Fi 7 Chipset portfolio

MediaTek introduced its Filogic 860 and Filogic 360 chipsets supporting Wi-Fi7. Sampling is underway.

Filogic 860 combines a Wi-Fi 7 dual-band access point with a new advanced network processor solution and is ideal for enterprise access points, service provider Ethernet gateways and mesh nodes, as well as retail and IoT router applications. 

The Filogic 860 platform key features:

  • * 6nm low power Wi-Fi design
  • * Single-MAC MLO support
  • * Supports 4096-QAM and MRU
  • * Supports dual-band Wi-Fi 7 with industry-highest dual-band MLO speed, 7.2Gbps
  • * Dual-band, dual concurrent capabilities with 4T4R for 2.4GHz up to BW40 and 5T5R 4SS for 5GHz up to BW160
  • * Support for an additional receive antenna for zero-wait DFS
  • * Filogic Xtra range support, boosting receiving distance using an extra antenna

Filogic 360 is a stand-alone client solution that integrates Wi-Fi 7 2x2 and dual Bluetooth 5.4 radios in a single chip, and is designed to deliver next-generation Wi-Fi 7 connectivity to edge devices, streaming devices and a vast array of other consumer electronics.

Key features of the Filogic 360 include:

  • * Triple-band selectable Wi-Fi 7 2x2 with up to 2.9Gbps speed
  • * Supports 4096-QAM and MRU
  • * 160MHz channel bandwidth support
  • * Filogic Xtra range support, boosting communication distance by unique Hybrid MLO solution
  • * Support for dual Bluetooth 5.4 cores for gaming and other applications
  • * BLE audio with integrated DSP for LC3 codec support
  • * MediaTek advanced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexistence technology ensures both technologies can operate on the 2.4 GHz band seamlessly, without interference