Optical Networks Lab
Unique testing facilities specifically required for testing optical interconnect modules.
For the past 5-10 years there has been a huge increase in the intake of optical technologies in large data centers as the bandwidth and number of data links has continued to grow exponentially due to exponential growth in demand for bandwidth hungry applications in the cloud. The Optical Networks Lab is part of the Low Latency Interconnect Network research theme in the ECO group. Within this lab dedicated research is taking place to design, fabricate and test novel components, sub-systems and architectures which can support the required future scaling of data center networks.
A crucial building block in all data center networks are optical interconnects. The Optical Networks Lab commands unique testing facilities specifically required for testing optical interconnect modules. This includes a probe station with different type of low speed (DC) and high speed (RF up to 40GHz) probes as well as many optical probes. Different sub-systems for the generation and detection of parallel data streams, include parallel BERT systems for 10, 25 and 56 Gbps with NRZ and PAM-4 modulation schemes as well as reference modules for 40 and 100Gbps optical interconnects. Devices can be characterized also using a state of the art device analyzer which can analyze the I-V, L-I as well as capacitance of such interconnect devices.
With more than 15 years of research into the use of optical switches (Inp,SiPh etc…) the Optical Networks Lab allows the testing, measurement and characterization of optical switches of all shapes and sizes.
Bare dies can be packaged and wire-bonded to allow for probe-less testing and can be manipulated using advanced electronic solutions include analog and digital (FPGA based) driving circuits. To complement the facilities, high bit-rate pattern generators and error detectors allow performance evaluation at up to 56Gbps per single wavelength.
To validate the performance of data center switches and sub-systems we have a small scale Data Center environment including electronic switches and optically connected servers.
Together with high end traffic analyzers, capable of transmitting and analyzing up to 80 Gbps of traffic through any network configuration, different architectures and protocols can be tested. The test bed can also be used to integrate optical switches (Circuit or Packet switches) or any other number of switching sub-systems.
For the use in Data center different PICs are made to demonstrate switching, filtering as well as generation and detection of large data flows. For the testing and characterization of these PICs we have several specially adapted device testing stations with programmable current and voltage sources and water and electronic cooling solutions. Light from the PICs can be collected to single mode fibers both for edge emitters (InP) and top emitters (SiPh, GaAs).