Open silicon photonics platform offers laser integration at scale

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OpenLight, a newly launched foundry company spun out of Juniper Networks and controlled by Synopsys, has introduced an open silicon photonics platform with integrated lasers.

The platform will give chipmakers the capability to integrate lasers in pluggable and co-packaged optics at scale - with thousands of monilithically integrated lasers possible on a single photonic integrated circuit (PIC) - in applications such as datacom, telecom, lidar, healthcare, HPC, AI, and optical computing.

The technology will be available first through Tower Semiconductor - it has passed qualification and reliability tests on Tower's PH18DA production process. OpenLight expects the first open Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) shuttle run on the PH18DA process as well as 400G and 800G reference designs with integrated lasers to be available in Summer 2022.

As the optics industry advances, a major challenge for silicon photonics has been laser integration and the high cost associated with adding discrete lasers, including the manufacturing, assembly, and alignment of those lasers. This becomes more important as the number of laser channels and the overall bandwidth increases.

By processing the Indium Phosphide (InP) materials directly on the silicon photonics wafer, the PH18DA platform reduces the cost and time of adding lasers, enabling volume scalability and improved power efficiency. In addition, monolithically integrated lasers improve overall reliability and simplify packaging. 

'We strongly believe that OpenLight's technology will transform the silicon photonics industry,' said Dr Marco Racanelli, senior VP and general manager of Tower Semiconductor's Analog Business Unit. 'Providing an open silicon photonics platform with integrated lasers that has been qualified on Tower's process will help mutual customers innovate and fuel the next generation of silicon photonics designs at scale.'

Dr Thomas Mader, COO at OpenLight, added: 'The rapidly growing silicon photonics market is being driven by the relentless demand for higher bandwidth needed to analyse, store and move complex data. OpenLight's open silicon photonics platform with integrated lasers enables scaling from one laser to hundreds, or even thousands of lasers per PIC, all monolithically integrated at the wafer level. With our platform, companies can enter emerging markets faster, accelerate new applications and completely change the way their teams build photonic systems of tomorrow.'

OpenLight operates under the tagline, 'Open. Integrated. Scalable.' The open platform includes integrated lasers, optical amplifiers, modulators, photodetectors, and other key photonic components to form a complete solution for low-power, high-performance photonics ICs. In addition, OpenLight offers select PIC designs and design services to accelerate time-to-market. 

OpenLight's executive team brings decades of hands-on photonics design experience and is led by Dr. Thomas Mader, COO, Dr Daniel Sparacin, VP of Business Development and Strategy, and Dr Volkan Kaman, VP of Engineering.

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