Partners announce open market silicon photonics platform with monolithically integrated III-V lasers

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Tower Semiconductor, a foundry of analogue semiconductor solutions, together with Juniper Networks, a developer of secure, AI-driven networks, have announced what they say is the world’s first silicon photonics foundry-ready process with integrated III-V lasers, amplifiers modulators and detectors.

The process addresses optical connectivity in data centres and telecom networks, as well as new emerging applications in artificial intelligence, lidar and other sensors. 

The new platform co-integrates III-V lasers, semiconductor optical amplifiers, electro-absorption modulators and photodetectors with silicon photonics devices, all monolithically on a single chip. 

This enables smaller, higher-channel count and more power-efficient optical architectures and solutions. Foundry availability will enable a broad array of product developers to create highly integrated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for diverse markets.

Process design kits are expected to be available by year end and the first open multi-project wafer run is expected to be offered early next year. First samples of full 400Gb/s and 800Gb/s PICs reference designs with integrated laser are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2022.

'Our mutual development work with Tower has been extraordinarily successful in qualifying this innovative silicon photonics technology in a high-volume manufacturing facility,' said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks. 'By offering this capability to the entire industry, Juniper offers the potential to radically reduce the cost of optics while lowering the barrier to entry for customers'.

'Our partnership with Juniper on silicon photonics is bringing a paradigm shift for product development across our industry,' said Russell Ellwanger, CEO of Tower Semiconductor. 'It is now possible to mix the advantages of III-V semiconductors with high-volume silicon photonics manufacturing. Being the singular open market, integrated laser silicon photonics platform, and having a multi-year advantage over any potential foundry competitor, we are jointly creating breakthrough products with truly unique value for our industry and for society as a whole'.

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FormFactor's fast photonic wafer probers enable rapid tests through faster photonic alignment than previously possible. (Credit: FormFactor Inc)

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