A complementary metal-oxide semiconductor optical transceiver designed for board- or backplane level power-efficient interconnections is presented. The transceiver supports optical wake-on-link (OWL), an event-driven dynamic power-on technique. Depending on external events, the transceiver resides in either the active mode or the sleep mode and switches accordingly. The active-to-sleep transition shuts off the normal, gigabit link and turns on dedicated circuits to establish a low-power , low data rate (less than ) link. In contrast the normal, gigabit link consumes over 100 mW. Similarly the sleep-to-active transition shuts off the low-power link and turns on the normal, gigabit link. The low-power link, sharing the same optical channel with the normal, gigabit link, is used to achieve transmitter∕receiver pair power-on synchronization and greatly reduces the power consumption of the transceiver. A free-space optical platform was built to evaluate the transceiver performance. The experiment successfully demonstrated the event-driven dynamic power-on operation. To our knowledge, this is the first time a dynamic power-on scheme has been implemented for optical interconnects. The areas of the circuits that implement the low-power link are approximately one-tenth of the areas of the gigabit link circuits.
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