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SCOOTER: Silicon-organic Hybrid Transceivers for Terabit/s Data Networks


Megatrends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry-4.0 paradigms, and cloud-based service delivery are combining to push data-center infrastructures to their limits. This applies in particular to Ethernet-based communication networks within large data centers, which limit further scalability of computing power and storage capacity already today. Compact power-efficient transceiver concepts are key to overcome these bottlenecks.
SCOOTER aims at what the Ethernet Alliance has recently classified as the “Holy Grail” of the Ethernet ecosystem: Transceivers that enable serial transmission of 100 Gbit/s data streams, while fulfilling the stringent requirements of small-form-factor-pluggable (SFP) packages. The project exploits the concept of silicon-organic hybrid (SOH) integration that combines the economics of large-scale silicon photonic integration with the exceptional performance of organic electro-optic (EO) materials. In a series of experimental demonstrations, we have proven the superior performance of SOH electro-optic modulators, both in terms of speed and power consumption.
The SCOOTER transceiver concept is expected to hit a strongly growing multi-billion Euro market. The study aims at an in-depth analysis of market opportunities and competitive boundary conditions, the specification of technical product concepts, as well as the associated IP strategy and risk analysis. The project shall result in a comprehensive business plan that allows to raise funds for the next phase of commercialization through a start-up company. We expect that the envisaged transceivers will not only help to overcome the communication bottlenecks in today’s networks, but may also have transformative impact on the long-term Ethernet roadmap, enabling interface rates of 400 Gbit/s, 800 Gbit/s, 1 Tbit/s, and beyond.