February 20, 2014

A Vision for Thermally Integrated Photonics Systems

  • Duan G.
  • Enright R.
  • Frizzell R.
  • Hernon D.
  • Lei S.
  • Levaufre G.
  • Mathews I.
  • Shen A.

We live in a rapidly changing world where advances in consumer technology are occurring so fast that the network is struggling to keep pace. The rapid uptake of smart phones/tablets and the widespread wireless streaming of high definition video and games is putting the current network architecture under immense strain. The problem is further compounded as many more applications come online on a daily basis thereby further straining the network. Some examples are high definition 4K video streaming, health monitoring, provision of online education, internet of things, cloud computing and many more. We live in an ever growing digitally connected world that will be further enabled by cloud computing and storage as depicted in Figure 1. Data growth rates across the network vary depending on the source (see [1] and [2] for detailed reviews of the literature on traffic growth rates); however, it is accepted that yearly performance improvements in products placed within the network considerably lag insatiable consumer demand. To keep pace with these rapid changes we (equipment manufacturers) need to innovate at speed, at scale and at low cost. This means that device and component integration is critical to enable the next many generations of efficient and scalable telecommunications products. The level of integration required has severe hardware design implications in general but even more so from a thermal perspective. The thermal challenge grows with ever increasing levels of integration as the designer must place more and more functionality in ever smaller boxes. Packing so much functionality (devices/components) into ever decreasing package footprints will lead to substantially increased thermal densities and new thermal solutions are required.

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