Silicon Line broadens VCSEL driver chipset spectrum

MUNICH, Germany — Fabless chip startup Silicon Line (Munich) has expanded its product line with a quad-transimpedance amplifier chipset, offering an aggregated bandwidth of 14 Gbps at very low power consumption.

Silicon Line specializes in analog circuits that interface data lines to optical transmission lines. In such applications it is very important to keep power dissipation extremely low; otherwise the heat from the analog driver circuit would affect the characteristics of the following Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) diode, explained Silicon Line Managing Director Holger Hoeltke. The SL82726 four-channel VCSEL driver meets this requirement with a power dissipation of 4.5 milliwatts for all four channels operating simultaneously, Hoeltke said.

The driver chip is complemented by a receiver chip. The SL82716 dissipates less than 25 mW at maximum data throughput. Thus, the entire chipset dissipates less than 30 mW even if it operates at maximum frequencies, Hoeltke claimed.

According to Hoeltke, fiber optical data lines can favorably replace micro coax lines in applications where very high data rates are combined with small form factors and mechanical ruggedness, such as mobile handsets in clamshell or slider design. The chipset at hand however does aim at consumer electronics applications such as laptop computers, portable video players and the like, the vendor explains.

The chipset is manufactured in 130nm geometries, using a standard CMOS process, Hoeltke said. He declined to name the foundry.

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