Research and design of high-speed advanced analogue front-ends for fibre-optic transmission systems

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Quadir, Nasir Abdul
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University College Cork
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In the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of large, warehouse-scale data centres which have enabled new internet-based software applications such as cloud computing, search engines, social media, e-government etc. Such data centres consist of large collections of servers interconnected using short-reach (reach up to a few hundred meters) optical interconnect. Today, transceivers for these applications achieve up to 100Gb/s by multiplexing 10x 10Gb/s or 4x 25Gb/s channels. In the near future however, data centre operators have expressed a need for optical links which can support 400Gb/s up to 1Tb/s. The crucial challenge is to achieve this in the same footprint (same transceiver module) and with similar power consumption as today’s technology. Straightforward scaling of the currently used space or wavelength division multiplexing may be difficult to achieve: indeed a 1Tb/s transceiver would require integration of 40 VCSELs (vertical cavity surface emitting laser diode, widely used for short‐reach optical interconnect), 40 photodiodes and the electronics operating at 25Gb/s in the same module as today’s 100Gb/s transceiver. Pushing the bit rate on such links beyond today’s commercially available 100Gb/s/fibre will require new generations of VCSELs and their driver and receiver electronics. This work looks into a number of state‐of-the-art technologies and investigates their performance restraints and recommends different set of designs, specifically targeting multilevel modulation formats. Several methods to extend the bandwidth using deep submicron (65nm and 28nm) CMOS technology are explored in this work, while also maintaining a focus upon reducing power consumption and chip area. The techniques used were pre-emphasis in rising and falling edges of the signal and bandwidth extensions by inductive peaking and different local feedback techniques. These techniques have been applied to a transmitter and receiver developed for advanced modulation formats such as PAM-4 (4 level pulse amplitude modulation). Such modulation format can increase the throughput per individual channel, which helps to overcome the challenges mentioned above to realize 400Gb/s to 1Tb/s transceivers.
Fibre-optic , PAM-4 , VCSEL driver , Emphasis , Automatic gain control , Transimpedance amplifier , CML logic , Linear receiver , Bandwidth extension , High-speed analogue design , Burst mode receiver , Pulse-width distortion , Low power , Deep submicron technology , Data centre , Multi mode fibre
Quadir, N. A. 2014. Research and design of high-speed advanced analogue front-ends for fibre-optic transmission systems. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.