CEA-Leti is to coordinate a four-year project aimed at building a European-based supply chain in silicon photonics and speeding industrialisation of the technology.
The PLAT4M (Photonic Libraries And Technology for Manufacturing) project will focus on bringing the existing silicon photonics research platform to a level that enables seamless transition to industry, suitable for different application fields and levels of production volume.
PLAT4M, which is funded by a European Commission grant of 10.2 million euros, includes 15 leading European R&D institutes and CMOS companies, key industrial and research organisations in design and packaging, and end-users in different application fields.
'Silicon with its mature integration platform has brought electronic circuits to mass-market applications – our vision is that silicon photonics will follow this evolution,' said Laurent Fulbert, integrated photonics program manager at CEA-Leti, coordinator of PLAT4M.
'Upgrading existing platforms to become compatible with industrialisation is now essential and this requires streamlining and stabilising the design and process flows by taking into account design robustness, process variability and integration constraints. The PLAT4M partners bring a critical combination of expertise to the challenge of building a complete supply chain for commercialising silicon photonics in Europe.'
A surge in output of silicon photonics research in recent years has significantly boosted the potential for commercial exploitation of the technology. However, most of this R&D has been devoted to developing elementary building blocks, rather than fabricating complete photonic integrated circuits, which are needed to support large potential markets.