Avicena debuts world’s smallest 1Tbps optical transceiver

Created November 25, 2023
Technologies and Products

Avicena, a privately held company headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, debuted what it claims is the world’s smallest 1Tbps optical transceiver as part its LightBundle TM multi-Tbps chip-to-chip interconnect technology at the SuperComputing event, held in November.  Avicena says its microLED-based LightBundle architecture supports unprecedented throughput, shoreline density and low power, unlocking the performance of processors, memory, and sensors.

The LightBundleTM interconnect architecture is based on arrays of GaN microLEDs that leverage the microLED display ecosystem and can be integrated directly onto compact high-performance CMOS ICs.  This enables dense low-power IO over the entire area of the IC, enabling unprecedented shoreline densities. Each microLED array is connected via a multi-core fibre cable to a matching array of CMOS-compatible PDs.

The modular LightBundle platform scales to interconnects with tens of Tbps with a shoreline density > 10Tbps/mm. LightBundle is not tied to any foundry process, allowing it to be integrated onto a wide variety of IC process nodes.  The compact size, high density, low power, and low latency of LightBundle is ideal for high-density chiplet interfaces like UCIe, OpenHBI, and BoW, and can also greatly extend the reach of existing compute interconnects like PCIe/CXL, and HBM/DDR/GDDR memory links.

Avicena says that AI is driving an unprecedented surge in demand for compute and memory performance, driven by applications like ChatGPT based on large language models (LLMs). These sophisticated models have an insatiable appetite for computing power and fast access to large amounts of memory, resulting in an urgent and growing demand for much higher density low-power interconnects between GPUs and high-bandwidth memory (HBM) modules. Today, HBM modules must be co-packaged with GPUs because the GPU-memory electrical interconnect is limited to just a few millimeters in length.  Subsequent HBM generations will require IC shoreline densities in the range of 10Tbps/mm or more. Conventional optical interconnects based on VCSELs or Silicon Photonics (SiPh) promise to extend the interconnect reach but struggle to meet size, bandwidth density, power, latency, operating temperature, and cost requirements. By contrast, Avicena’s microLED-based LightBundle interconnects provide higher bandwidth density, much smaller size, much lower power and latency, and very low costs.

LightBundle 3mm x 4mm ASIC on test board showing LED array and metal ferrule. (Image: Avicena)













“At Avicena we are excited to showcase the world’s most compact 1Tbps transceiver in the shape of a 3mm x 4mm CMOS ASIC using our patented microLED optical interface,” says Bardia Pezeshki, founder and CEO of Avicena.  “Everyone is talking about SiPh solutions for applications in AI clusters.  However, for short reach interconnects with less than 10m reach, we believe that our LED based solution is inherently better suited because the compact size, higher bandwidth density, lower power and latency, and temperature tolerance up to 150°C.”

“Optical interconnect technology has the potential to improve chip-to-chip and inter-rack performance,” says Marco Chisari, head of the Samsung Semiconductor Innovation Centre. “With a roadmap to multi-Tbps capacity and sub-pJ/bit power efficiency, Avicena’s innovative LightBundle interconnects can enable the next era of AI innovation, paving the way for even more capable models and a wide range of AI applications that will shape the future.”

Avicena is supported by key investors including Samsung Catalyst Fund, Cerberus Capital Management, Clear Ventures, and Micron.

For more information, visit https://avicena.tech


This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.