CEA-Leti to coordinate four-year EC silicon-photonics commercialization project

Feb. 20, 2013
Grenoble, France--CEA-Leti says it will coordinate a four-year project in silicon photonics that aims to build a European-based supply chain and speed up industrialization of the technology

Grenoble, France--CEA-Leti says it will coordinate a four-year project in silicon photonics that aims to build a European-based supply chain and speed up industrialization of the technology. CEA-Leti is a scientific center focused on technology transfer to industry, and has extensive photolithographic capabilities that fit well with the field of silicon photonics.

While silicon-photonics research has grown rapidly, most of the R&D so far has been devoted to developing elementary building blocks, rather than fabricating the complete photonic integrated circuits needed to support large markets and potential markets -- such as telecom, datacom (for example, massive Google-type data centers), gas sensing, light detection and ranging (lidar), and vibrometry.

PLAT4M
Dubbed “Photonic Libraries And Technology for Manufacturing” (PLAT4M), the project will focus on refining existing silicon-photonics technology to a level that enables seamless transition to industry for varied applications (and varied production volumes as well).

PLAT4M is funded by a European Commission (EC) grant of 10.2 million Euros. It includes 15 European R&D institutes and CMOS companies, industrial and research organizations in design and packaging, and end users in different application fields who will come together to build the complete supply chain.

"Silicon, with its mature integration platform, has brought electronic circuits to mass-market applications; our vision is that silicon photonics will follow this evolution," says Laurent Fulbert, integrated-photonics program manager at CEA-Leti and coordinator of PLAT4M.

PLAT4M aims to:

--prepare the supply chain, from chip-level technology to packaged circuits
--make integration technologies accessible to users in a fabless model
--help develop a design environment for convergence of photonics and electronics
--concentrate efforts on new products and new uses, rather than the technology level
--keep its optoelectronics integration in Europe, with little added value in offshore assembly

Project participants
At the design and process level, CEA and Imec have been the most prominent European players in silicon photonics for a decade, along with University of Paris-Sud, III-V Lab, and TNO; Mentor Graphics, PhoeniX BV, and Si2 specialize in electronic-design automation (EDA) tools and will work together to build a complete design flow.

STMicroelectronics (France and Italy) has been engaged for the past year in the development of silicon photonics at the industrial level. Tyndall-UCC and Aifotec specialize in optoelectronic packaging and will work together on implementing packaging technologies developed within PLAT4M in a manufacturing environment.

End-users like Polytec, Thales Research & Technology, and NXP will drive the development of demonstrations and assess the use of silicon photonics in their applications fields.


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