LinkX™ Variable Optical Attenuators

Mellanox's UltraVOA™ uses silicon photonics to deliver reliable solid-state current controlled optical attenuation enabling ultra-fast control of signal levels in optical networks. The Variable Optical Attenuator (VOA) consists of a reliable silicon p-i-n diode structure built across a silicon optical waveguide. As current is applied through the diodes, the free carriers in the waveguide absorb photons, creating a current-controlled variable attenuation.

Because the physical effect is based on electronic control, the response time of the VOA is fast—less than 1 µs in typical situations. This VOA is well suited to the most demanding applications in metro and long-haul transmission applications. The high speed of these VOAs makes them particularly useful for optical transient suppression and analog signal modulation applications.

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Applications

  • Channel power equalization
  • Optical transient suppression
  • Analog signal modulation
  • Power control in WDM and configurable networks

Technical Challenges for Silicon Photonics Transceivers for Data Center Applications

By: Arlon Martin, Sr. Director, LinkX Marketing, Mellanox Technologies
Abstract: Silicon photonics VOAs (variable optical attenuators) have been manufactured for the past several years in quantities of 100,000s per year. Can the lessons of high-volume VOA production apply to 100Gb/s silicon photonics transceivers as they scale beyond 100k units per year?

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