Helios 'puts Europe in strong position'

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Europe is strongly positioned to design and manufacture volume silicon photonics devices because of the success of the recently completed Helios programme, according to its French coordinator CEA-Leti.

The €8.5 million European Commission project developed a complete design and fabrication supply chain for integrating a photonic layer with a CMOS circuit, using microelectronics fabrication processes.

Helios also demonstrated a complete design flow, integrating both silicon photonics device design and electronic/photonic system design in an EDA-compatible framework.

'It is strategically important for Europe to maintain photonic chip-design and chip-integrating functions to compete with other countries and to encourage innovation by European microelectronics companies,' said Leti CEO Laurent Malier.

'Helios's success in creating the essential building blocks for integrating photonics with CMOS circuits and making the process available to a variety of users underscores the key role that broad European technological cooperation plays in a very competitive global business environment.'

Thomas Skordas, head of the EC’s photonics unit, said Helios has shown the large potential silicon photonics has in many different applications, such as data communications: 'The technology roadmap of silicon photonics becomes clearer now. Europe will have to move fast to become competitive in this new field.'