The 21st century is one of exploding demand for computing, storage, and communication capabilities. And keeping information moving is a real challenge, whether it is over international data lines, chip-to-chip, or even within the same chip. Current electrical interconnect technologies will soon reach their limits and new, radically different solutions will have to be found to cope with increasing traffic.
Integrating photonics capabilities on silicon chips is one way to potentially replace today’s electronic interconnects with optical technologies, vastly increasing bandwidth and density while making spectacular improvements in terms of energy consumption. In the age of photonics-on-silicon, data transmission will be measured in the Tbits/s.
The purpose of the program is to bring together under a single roof expertise and equipment addressing the entire photonics-on-silicon value chain. The idea is to apply the electronics industry’s current high-volume, low-cost manufacturing techniques to photonics-on-silicon circuit manufacturing. In other words, to integrate photonic functions on electronic circuits at wafer-level.
This will be achieved by developing a limited number of generic functions and making them accessible to manufacturers via foundries so that photonics-on-silicon can be used to address a broad range of applications, from IT to technologies for environmental services and healthcare.
- Build an integrated design environment.
- Develop guided optical/optoelectronic components and processes.
- Build technology demonstrators.