• Technical Conference:  24 – 28 March 2024
  • Exhibition: 26 – 28 March 2024
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

Promises, Prospects and Challenges of VCSELs for Data Center Interconnects, Free-Space Communication

Thursday, 09 March, 08:00 – 10:00

Room 6C


We aim for thought-provoking presentations and discussions on future promises and challenges of VCSELs for data center interconnects, free space optical communications, and sensing applications.

VCSELs are the light source of choice for short-reach data center interconnects, with 53 Gbps per lane (26.5 Gbaud PAM4) arrays being widely deployed and 106 Gbps per lane (via 53 Gbaud PAM4) arrays under pilot runs. However, can they scale up to 200 Gbps per channel with the same oxide-confined VCSEL structure? Will it require a radically different device technology to bring the bandwidth to 40 GHz and to mitigate the reliability issues due to increased operating temperatures when moving the pluggable transceivers from the front plate to the ASIC? What are the cost drivers and challenges to overcome?

Will VCSELs or VCSEL arrays enable fifth (5G) and sixth generation (6G or Next G) optical wireless communication at 10 to 50 Gbps per lane over meters to kilometers? What role will VCSELs play in 5G and 6G optical wireless communication and sensing for Internet of Things, manufacturing, backhaul, last mile, urban mesh networks, and more?

Decades of manufacturing and deployment experience in communication systems have provided a foundation in two new markets for VCSELs: 3D sensing and automotive LiDAR. Can the rapid innovations in 3D sensing and LiDAR help to transform the VCSEL in other market segments, and if yes, how?

In this Panel, we will discuss state-of-the-art VCSEL technologies, remaining device and systems challenges, synergies across different market segments, and future emerging applications.


Connie Chang-Hasnian, Brexel Photonics, China

Fotini Karinou, Microsoft Research Ltd, UnitedKingdom

Hai-Feng Liu, HG Genuine, China

Jim Lott, Technical University Berlin, Germany


Ernesto Ciaramella, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy

John R. Joseph, OptiPulse Inc, USA

Cy Lu, Lumentum Operations Inc, USA

Ramana Murty, Broadcom, USA

Jiaxing Wang, Berxel Photonics, China