A 12-Gb/s -16.8-dBm OMA Sensitivity 23-mW Optical Receiver in 65-nm CMOS

Mostafa Gamal Ahmed, Mrunmay Talegaonkar, Ahmed Elkholy, Guanghua Shu, Ahmed Elmallah, Alexander Rylyakov, Pavan Kumar Hanumolu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optical interconnects are being increasingly deployed in data centers to meet growing bandwidth requirements under tight power constraints. Therefore, there has been renewed focus on increasing data rates and improving power efficiency of optical links. Among all the link components, laser diodes typically consume the most power. Their power dissipation is dictated by the amount of signal power that needs to be transmitted to meet the bit error rate requirements under given channel loss and receiver sensitivity conditions. Consequently, improving receiver sensitivity directly helps lowering laser diode power consumption. In this paper, we present design techniques to implement such high sensitivity optical receivers. To this end, we identify noise-bandwidth tradeoffs of a shunt feedback transimpedance amplifier (SF-TIA) and elucidate how they limit the maximum achievable sensitivity at a given data rate and process technology. We then propose to combine a low-bandwidth SF-TIA with a four-tap decision feedback equalizer to overcome this noise-bandwidth tradeoff. The proposed SF-TIA uses high-gain multistage amplifier and large feedback resistance and achieves greatly improved noise performance. Fabricated in a 65-nm CMOS technology and heterogeneously integrated with a photonic IC, the proposed optical receiver achieves optical modulation amplitude sensitivity of -16.8 dBm with 1.9-pJ/bit efficiency at 12 Gb/s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8074728
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Decision feedback equalizer (DFE)
  • TIA
  • high sensitivity
  • multi-stage shunt feedback transimpedance amplifier (TIA)
  • optical links
  • optical receiver
  • silicon photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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