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Fabless services for PICs in indium phosphide launched

A wafer foundry, a consultant in III-V photonics, and a PIC design house will now offer fabless development into production services for customised PICs in indium phosphide (InP).

The joint service comes from: Global Communication Semiconductors (GCS), a compound semiconductor wafer fabrication foundry; Intengent, a consultant in the area of III-V photonics; and VLC Photonics, a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) design house.

GCS provides a broad range of wafer foundry services, based on a regrowth-free process in InP. Originally developed as an opto and heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) processes, it also allows for prototyping and volume-scalable production of PICs.

The key enabler is a photonic integration platform that is compatible with the foundry’s regrowth-free process and yet suitable for a variety of applications. Intengent has developed such a platform, termed Taper Assisted Vertical Integration (TAVI), which is regrowth-free, based on the GCS process, and enables the decoupling of epitaxial growth and wafer fabrication.

TAVI covers many PIC applications, including those in growing and emerging markets, like optical interconnects and switching markets. It also offers complementary solutions to silicon photonics, which is considered by many the technology of choice for a high-scale integration but lacks amplifying, lasing, and other functions naturally implementable in InP.

In a three-way partnership with GCS and VLC, Intengent is working towards making TAVI a generic platform while preserving its flexibility and openness to PIC customisation.

VLC Photonics is an expert in generic photonic integration platforms and, as a fabless and independent design house for PICs, has been developing design libraries and process design kits (PDK) for different foundry platforms and customers.

A PDK for the TAVI platform reduces the PIC design effort and risk, by shifting the focus towards circuit-level simulations. The evolving PDK is based on a number of verified active and passive building blocks, and is already used in commercial PIC designs carried out by the partnership.

Brian Ann, CEO of GCS, said: ‘Our well-established Opto and RFIC processes have great synergies with the TAVI PIC platform. Our 4-inch, and 6-inch wafer capability as well, based on a commercially supplied one-step-growth epitaxy, creates a unique opportunity for PICs in InP. We truly believe that the GCS-Intengent-VLC partnership can fully utilise this opportunity and generate a significant business for PICs in various markets.’

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