New Device Architecture For Faster Data Transfer

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OPEN 2015
Mercerville, New Jersey
Project Term:
02/26/2016 - 09/30/2017

Technology Description:

Princeton Optronics will develop a new device architecture for optical interconnect links, which communicate using optical fibers that carry light. The maximum speed and power consumption requirement of data communication lasers have not changed significantly over the last decade, and state-of-the-art commercial technology delivers only 30 Gigabits per second (Gb/s). Increasing this speed has been difficult because the current devices are limited by resistance and capacitance constraints. Princeton Optronics will develop a novel device architecture to improve the data transfer and reduce the power consumption per bit by a factor of 10. They will use their expertise in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) to design and build unique quantum wells – and increase the speed and lower the power consumption. The team aims to demonstrate speeds greater than 50 Gb/s, and perhaps 250 Gb/s devices in the future.

Potential Impact:

If successful, innovations from this project could dramatically improve the cost and efficiency of optical interconnect technology and our ability to transmit greater amounts of data more efficiently.


Faster data communications will enhance national defense, security, and resiliency.


Increasing the energy efficiency of data communications would mitigate a significant amount of CO2 emissions.


Implementing the team’s technologies could save large amounts of power and the increased performance and bandwidth of optical networks will improve economic productivity.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Michael Haney
Project Contact:
Dr. Delai Zhou
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Project Contact Email:

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