Universal Two-Tap Feed-Forward Equalization Using a Differential Element

Tech ID: 30448 / UC Case 2019-423-0


Feed-Forward Equalizers (FFEs) work by splitting a signal and inverting, attenuating, and delaying one part of the signal before adding the two branches back together. Current FFE implementations use complex structures to perform this operation and have more complicated signal paths for each of the taps. The consequences of the complexity include increased power consumption, greater chip area, and limited tunability. Existing FFEs are also expensive and experience an inherent loss of signal strength when implemented with broadband power dividers. 


Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a simplified FFE that enables reduced power consumption, smaller chip area, and greater tunability than existing chip-scale technology. This fully tunable FFE reduces complexity by employing simplified addition and inversion operations that use a single differential element, such as a differential amplifier or a differential optical modulator. This allows for high-speed performance for communication links at a smaller scale with less power consumption, which is especially valuable given the ever-increasing demand for faster and higher data rate optical links. In addition, the device avoids the inherent loss of signal strength associated with broadband power dividers while reducing time and money spent fabricating a product based on the universal equalizer. These features make the universal equalizer an attractive component in a commercial high-speed links, in terms of both cost and performance.


  • Improves device simplicity
  • Reduces fabrication costs
  • Reduces power consumption
  • Increases speed
  • Maintains signal strength


  • Optical links inside data centers
  • Integrated circuits
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Wireline and communication technologies

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Andrade, Hector
  • Buckwalter, James F.
  • Maharry, Aaron
  • Schow, Clint

Other Information


electronics, feed-forward equalizer, universal equalizer, architecture, differential

Categorized As

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