Ligentec and VLC Photonics offer new photonic integration platform on silicon nitride

Uses include biophotonics at visible wavelengths, optical telecom and datacom (at telecom wavelengths), and others.

Ligentec (Lausanne, Switzerland), which provides manufacturing foundry services in silicon nitride, and VLC Photonics (Valencia, Spain), a design house that offers services for photonic-circuit development, have collaborated to offer a generic platform for the prototyping and production of photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Ligentec has developed its own silicon nitride process to achieve ultralow propagation losses, with several world-record devices being published in the last years, according to the company. "Our process is able to deposit thick-film silicon nitride, from 100 nm to 2500 nm, overcoming the challenge of crack formation due to stress in the material, " says Michael Zervas, CEO of Ligentec. The process can scale up to production volumes using 8'' wafers and stepper lithography.

The open-access platform provides a generic fabrication process for designing and manufacturing PICs to be used in many different applications. Targeting mainly the most common communications wavelengths, the platform is also customizable for lower visible wavelengths, which are suitable for biophotonic and sensing applications. The main markets addressed are optical telecom and datacom, supercontinuum generation, microwave photonics, and quantum optics.

Fabrication is organized through dedicated full-wafer runs or shared multiproject wafer runs, which are periodically scheduled three times a year. Users can subscribe to these runs and prepare their designs using the standardized rules and functional building blocks provided by the foundry and the design house, which have also been implemented under a Process Design Kit (PDK) for two different design software tools, OptoDesigner by PhoeniX Software and IPKISS by Luceda Photonics.

VLC Photonics will also be offering full design or design support for inexperienced users, and also chip characterization and test services once fabrication has been performed. "We have realized that most of the times, end users also require some level of design or test assistance to speed their developments and reduce the risk when targeting complex projects," says Iñigo Artundo, CEO of VLC Photonics.

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Source: Ligentec

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