We model and compare on-chip (up to wafer scale) and off-chip (multichip module) high-speed electrical interconnections with free-space optical interconnections in terms of speed performance and energy requirements for digital transmission in large-scale systems. For all technologies the interconnections are first modeled and optimized for minimum delay as functions of the interconnection length for both one-to-one and fan-out connections. Then energy requirements are derived as functions of the interconnection length. Free-space optical interconnections that use multiple-quantum-well modulators or vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers as transmitters are shown to offer a speed–energy product advantage as high as 30 over that of the electrical interconnection technologies.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 14, 1997
Revised Manuscript: August 29, 1997
Published: January 10, 1998
Gökçe I. Yayla, Philippe J. Marchand, and Sadik C. Esener, "Speed and energy analysis of digital interconnections: comparison of on-chip, off-chip, and free-space technologies," Appl. Opt. 37, 205-227 (1998)