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Pre-commercialization of new generation Atomic-layer-deposited Lasers for future green high-performance data centers
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101082183 Call for proposal: ERC-2022-POC2
Funded under: HE | ERC | HORIZON-ERC-POC\HORIZON-AG-LS Funder Contribution: 150,000 EUR

The continuous growth of global data traffic pushes the data center technology boundaries and their energy consumption. Data centers already use more than 2% of the global electricity and are expected to consume 20% by 2025. The new generation hyperscale data centers offer a more energy-efficient alternative to conventional data centers but are limited by the current technology restrictions. Silicon photonics has been deemed to solve current bottlenecks for building green hyperscale data centers. However, this technology is challenged by the complicated and expensive fabrication methods of the laser sources, which represent 40% cost of the entire silicon transceiver market. Using a simple fabrication method invented in our ERC Advanced project, we have designed a waveguide light source that can be fabricated onto the silicon-integrated platform with a single-step, straightforward, low-cost, low-temperature and scalable process that lowers the fabrication cost ~10 times compared to the state-of-the-art light sources. Such technologic breakthrough will push the implementation of silicon photonics in hyperscale data centers, allowing them to maintain a low energy footprint while meeting the ever-increasing bandwidth requirements of the growing big data societal challenge. Our project aims to further develop the novel technology and demonstrate its effectiveness for data center applications, to create the first-of-its-kind low-cost and scalable fabrication technology for the silicon photonics market, compatible with the current systems used in the industry. Furthermore, we will prepare and validate the business concept with value chain players, strengthen our IPR strategy, and prepare the commercialization to establish a start-up aiming at serving this significantly growing market (40% Compound Annual Growth Rate).

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