Free-space optical interconnects have been identified as a potentially important technology for future massively parallel-computing systems. The development of optoelectronic smart pixels based on InGaAs/AlGaAs multiple-quantum-well modulators and detectors flip-chip solder-bump bonded onto complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) circuits and the design and construction of an experimental processor in which the devices are linked by free-space optical interconnects are described. For demonstrating the capabilities of the technology, a parallel data-sorting system has been identified as an effective demonstrator. By use of Batcher’s bitonic sorting algorithm and exploitation of a perfect-shuffle optical interconnection, the system has the potential to perform a full sort on 1024, 16-bit words in less than 16 μs. We describe the design, testing, and characterization of the smart-pixel devices and free-space optical components. InGaAs–CMOS smart-pixel, chip-to-chip communication has been demonstrated at 50 Mbits/s. It is shown that the initial system specifications can be met by the component technologies.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(200.0200) Optics in computing : Optics in computing
(200.2610) Optics in computing : Free-space digital optics
(200.3050) Optics in computing : Information processing
(200.4650) Optics in computing : Optical interconnects
Andrew C. Walker, Tsung-Yi Yang, James Gourlay, Julian A. B. Dines, Mark G. Forbes, Simon M. Prince, Douglas A. Baillie, David T. Neilson, Rhys Williams, Lucy C. Wilkinson, George R. Smith, Mark P. Y. Desmulliez, Gerald S. Buller, Mohammad R. Taghizadeh, Andrew Waddie, Ian Underwood, Colin R. Stanley, Francois Pottier, Brigitte Vögele, and Wilson Sibbett, "Optoelectronic Systems Based on InGaAs- Complementary-Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Smart-Pixel Arrays and Free-Space Optical Interconnects," Appl. Opt. 37, 2822-2830 (1998)