Ultra-Energy-Efficient Integrated DWDM Optical Interconnect

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OPEN 2018
Palo Alto, California
Project Term:
04/01/2020 - 12/31/2023

Critical Need:

For high-performance computing data centers and computational infrastructure, data transmission is a major energy and computing efficiency bottleneck. U.S. data centers consume 3% of U.S. electricity and the world’s top 10 supercomputers consume an average of 7.6 MW. The speed that information can travel along metal interconnects within data centers sets the upper limit for energy efficiency improvements. In contrast, photonic interconnects send and receive information via photons—light—enabling far greater speed and bandwidth at much lower energy and cost per bit of data. Photonic interconnects will enable new network architectures and topologies with the potential to double overall data center efficiency over the next decade.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Hewlett Packard Labs will develop a low energy consumption, ultra-efficient, high-speed technology to transmit data as light in high-performance computing systems and data centers. The team will combine recent breakthroughs in low-cost laser manufacturing and ultra-efficient photonic tuning technology with their established platform. It will demonstrate a fully integrated optical transceiver capable of sending data faster than 1,000 gigabytes per second over 40 simultaneous channels, even in rigorous practical operating conditions with widely varying temperatures.

Potential Impact:

Hewlett Packard Labs will demonstrate a "bandwidth scale-up, energy scale-down, volume manufacturable” silicon photonic package solution.


This project will solidify US leadership in high-speed, low-cost, green photonics.


Reducing the overall energy consumption of data centers cuts energy-related emissions per bit of data processed or stored.


This project will enable a horizontally integrated and open photonic ecosystem for more silicon photonics innovators and beneficiaries and attract quick adoptions for emerging applications.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Olga Spahn
Project Contact:
Dr. Ray Beausoleil
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of California, Santa Barbara

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