PAM4 silicon photonic microring resonator-based transceiver circuits Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2017 SPIE. Increased data rates have motivated the investigation of advanced modulation schemes, such as four-level pulseamplitude modulation (PAM4), in optical interconnect systems in order to enable longer transmission distances and operation with reduced circuit bandwidth relative to non-return-to-zero (NRZ) modulation. Employing this modulation scheme in interconnect architectures based on high-Q silicon photonic microring resonator devices, which occupy small area and allow for inherent wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM), offers a promising solution to address the dramatic increase in datacenter and high-performance computing system I/O bandwidth demands. Two ring modulator device structures are proposed for PAM4 modulation, including a single phase shifter segment device driven with a multi-level PAM4 transmitter and a two-segment device driven by two simple NRZ (MSB/LSB) transmitters. Transmitter circuits which utilize segmented pulsed-cascode high swing output stages are presented for both device structures. Output stage segmentation is utilized in the single-segment device design for PAM4 voltage level control, while in the two-segment design it is used for both independent MSB/LSB voltage levels and impedance control for output eye skew compensation. The 65nm CMOS transmitters supply a 4.4Vppd output swing for 40Gb/s operation when driving depletion-mode microring modulators implemented in a 130nm SOI process, with the single- and two-segment designs achieving 3.04 and 4.38mW/Gb/s, respectively. A PAM4 optical receiver front-end is also described which employs a large input-stage feedback resistor transimpedance amplifier (TIA) cascaded with an adaptively-tuned continuous-time linear equalizer (CTLE) for improved sensitivity. Receiver linearity, critical in PAM4 systems, is achieved with a peak-detector-based automatic gain control (AGC) loop.

name of conference

  • Optical Interconnects XVII

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of SPIE

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Palermo, S., Yu, K., Roshan-Zamir, A., Wang, B., Li, C., Seyedi, M. A., Fiorentino, M., & Beausoleil, R.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Palermo, Samuel||Yu, Kunzhi||Roshan-Zamir, Ashkan||Wang, Binhao||Li, Cheng||Seyedi, M Ashkan||Fiorentino, Marco||Beausoleil, Raymond

editor list (cited editors)

  • Schröder, H., & Chen, R. T.

publication date

  • January 2017