In systems with a high density of multi-gigabit per second
communication channels---each spanning distances of a few cm to about
a metre---optical interconnects are put forward as an
alternative to traditional electrical interconnections.
The optics should introduce several advantages: higher
channel bit rates, denser interconnect and less drive power.
While the technology of VCSELs, photodetectors and different guidewave
systems has made much progress over the past decade, the design space
of their integration into a full solution has not nearly received the
amount of exploration as the individual link building blocks have.
In this paper, we discuss the development of a design methodology for
optical interconnects, beginning with a systematic exploration of
their design space. To this end, circuit-level simulation models for optical
interconnects have been developed that enable prediction of some important
system-level properties (such as timing characteristics) of various