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Authors: J. Verbist, J. Lambrecht, M. Verplaetse, J. Van Kerrebrouck, A. Srinivasan, P. De Heyn, T. De Keulenaer, X. Yin, G. Torfs, J. Van Campenhout, G. Roelkens, J. Bauwelinck
Title: DAC-less and DSP-free 112 Gb/s PAM-4 Transmitter using Two Parallel Electro- Absorption Modulators
Format: International Journal
Publication date: Accepted for publication. Not yet published
Journal/Conference/Book: Journal of Lightwave Technology (invited)
Editor/Publisher: IEEE/OSA, 

Abstract

Four-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) is
widely regarded as the modulation format of choice for the next generation of 400 gigabit Ethernet short-reach optical transceiver. However, generating and receiving PAM-4 at line rates of 112 Gb/s has proven challenging, without relying on power-hungry tools as digital signal processing and digital-to-analog converters, as it requires linearity from the E/O-components in the link and/or predistortion
techniques. Moving the binary to multilevel conversion to the optical domain would greatly relax these requirements. Electro-absorption based transceivers would be ideally suited for this type of data center interconnects as they are capable of combining low-power and high bandwidth operation with a very compact layout, removing the need for large travelling wave structures and dedicated 50Ω terminations. In this paper, we present a novel transmitter topology for generating PAM-4 using two binary driven electro-absorption modulators in parallel. Using this approach, we achieve superior performance with respect to a single, but identical multilevel driven EAM. Finally,
we demonstrate the first silicon-based modulator capable of transmitting single-lane 112 Gb/s PAM-4 over 2 km of standard single-mode fiber without any electrical DAC, DSP or long transmission line structures and terminations.

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