Energy efficiency project led by ECE’s Dan Blumenthal funded by the Department of Energy (DOE)

November 15th, 2018

photo of Dan Blumenthal

Blumenthal’s project, FRESCO: Frequency Stabilized Coherent Optical Low-energy Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) DC Interconnects, received $3,750,000 to develop a low power, low-cost solution to overcome power and bandwidth scaling limitations that will occur with the emergence of hyperscale data centers and related exponential growth in global data traffic and address future energy efficiency needs

FRESCO was among 40 new projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of OPEN 2018, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA E) latest open funding opportunity. The $98 million in funding supports the research and development projects of America’s top energy innovators as they seek to develop technologies to transform the nation’s energy system.

“ARPA-E’s open solicitations serve a valuable purpose. They give America’s energy innovators the opportunity to tell us about the next big thing,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Many of the greatest advances in human history started from the bottom up with a single person or idea, and OPEN 2018 provides a chance to open our doors to potentially the next great advancement in energy.”

The FRESCO transceiver leverages recent advances in fundamental laser physics to enable terabit, coherent optical (light-based) data transmission inside data centers using an ultra-pure and ultra-stable laser signal. The outcome of the project will be an integrated photonic package capable of connecting to 100 terabit-per-second networking switches over coherent optical short-reach data center fiber links. This effort could disrupt the way data centers, data center interconnects, and terabit Ethernet switches are built, drastically reducing their global energy consumption.

“The funding is significant in that it establishes our leadership in the next generation of optical fiber research and energy efficient data centers,” said Blumenthal. “It also ushers a broad team of academic and industry researchers and resources into a new era of communications that will bring the performance of systems normally found in large scientific instruments, like atomic clocks, onto the chip scale.”

Yale University; Northern Arizona University; University of Colorado, Boulder; Stanford University; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Morton Photonics; Microsoft; and Barefoot Networks are collaborating with UCSB on the project.

COE News – “Energy Efficiency Project led by UCSB Funded by DOE” (full article)

Blumenthal's COE Profile

Optical Communications and Photonic Integration Group