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World's first commercial optical processor revealed

19 November 2003 News

Optical digital signal processing specialist, Lenslet, based in Israel, has announced the world’s first commercial optical digital signal processor. Specified to run at a speed of 8 Tera (8000 Giga) operations per second – one thousand times faster than any known DSP – the company expects this innovative product will enable revolutionary, new applications in the fields of defense, homeland security, multimedia and communications.

The three order of magnitude acceleration delivered by the company's new EnLight platform opens the door to previously unfeasible defence capabilities. Lenslet's optical processor was developed over the past three years and offers a combined solution of optics and silicon in the format of a standard electronic board card with standard interfaces and development tools as generally accepted in the industry.

The world's first commercial reconfigurable optically-based digital signal processing engine (ODSPE), it performs vector-matrix multiplication (VMM) in a single machine cycle. According to the company, the native VMM operation enables the implementation of DSP algorithms simply and efficiently, at the highest level, using the natural representation of vectors and matrices. Component programming changes can be made at the application level or at the task level (within an application), or for values within a given task. This flexibility allows the ODSPE to meet current and future computational requirements, reduces the component count for new solutions, and significantly cuts product life-cycle cost.

Diagram of the Enlight256 optical core
Diagram of the Enlight256 optical core

The optical core is composed of an input array of 256 vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL), a spatial light modulator (SLM) composed of 256 by 256 matrix elements, and a photo detector array (PDA) of 256 detectors. As the light transmitted by a VCSEL passes through an SLM element, its intensity is attenuated by the transmissivity level of that SLM element, an effect equivalent to multiplication. Each one of the VCSELs shines on one column in the SLM, and each one of the detectors collects the energy from one row in the SLM yielding a vector-matrix multiplication operation. The 64K elements in the matrix are multiplied by the 256 elements in the input vector generating an output vector of 256 one-byte wide elements. This is the key to the massive data parallelism of the ODSPE.

For more information see www.lenslet.com





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