Sivers Photonics helps create industry standards

Sivers Photonics is a founding member of an elite group of companies signed up to a multi-source agreement (MSA) to define a new, industry-standard for continuous wave (CW) laser sources. 

The CW-WDM MSA (Continuous-Wave Wavelength Division Multiplexing Multi-Source Agreement) was formed to standardise WDM CW sources in O-band for emerging advanced Silicon Photonics (SiPh) based optics applications that are expected to move to 8, 16, and 32 wavelengths, to support high data rate advanced optical communication and computing applications.

CW lasers are critical to the integrated photonics devices used in next-generation artificial intelligence and data-centre applications and Sivers Photonics is helping to spearhead the standardisation, along with industry leaders and household names, Arista, Ayar Labs, imec, lntel, Lumentum, Luminous Computing, Quintessent, Sumitomo Electric, Il-VI and MACOM.

The goal of the MSA is to generate a set of specifications for optical power sources. Once the standard is completed, vendors can leverage a robust supply chain and suppliers have a unified, large market to sell into. This will allow developers and suppliers to leverage their strategic investments in the current generation of optical products to accelerate time to market of next generation products.

Today’s high volume datacom optics defined by IEEE and ITU standards specify serial or four WDM interfaces. These standards specify single and four wavelengths for today’s datacom optics. The CW-WDM MSA is different from optical communication standards groups in that it solely focuses on specifying the laser source instead of the full communications link and is not targeted at any specific application.

lncreasing the number of wavelengths, while staying in the O-band and aligning with ITU and IEEE standards, is a crucial part of the emerging ecosystem and will enable improvements in performance, efficiency, cost, and bandwidth scaling. Such higher wavelength counts are needed for emerging applications such as silicon photonics (SiPh) based high-density co-packaged optics, optical computing, and Al, and enable a leap in performance, efficiency, cost, and bandwidth scaling compared with previous technology generations.

The first set of specifications were released in June 2021 and key highlights of the MSA Specifications are shown below:

  • Frequency assignments for 8, 16 and 32 wavelength grid configurations with multiple grid spacings
  • Two physical configurations, including a modular optical source with each output port carrying a single wavelength, and an integrated optical source with each output port carrying all the wavelengths
  • A range of output power classes targeting applications that require very low and very high output levels
  • Definitions of optical parameters and measurement methods, including relative intensity noise, side mode suppression ratio (SMSR), and linewidth
  • Fixed and flexible wavelength grid configurations to support deployment in a variety of environmental conditions

Download the official specification documents on the CW-WDM MSA website  here.