Under the umbrella of the European Silicon Photonics Cluster, 10 European R+D project consortia coordinate their efforts in silicon photonics. Imec is involved in 7 of these consortia, which consist of research institutes, universities, and companies. The goal of the cluster is to build a unique photonics value chain, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology and strengthening Europe’s electronics industry. The cluster’s projects aim at introducing silicon photonics in innovative products.
Silicon photonics uses CMOS techniques to integrate optics technology onto chips. Compared to other photonics technologies, this may substantially lower the cost, size and power consumption of components, while improving their performance. The result will be low-cost solutions for a number of applications, including optical communications, optical interconnects between semiconductor chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing, and biological applications. Silicon photonics is widely seen as a viable technology to meet the cost and volume demand of such markets.
With the European Silicon Photonics Cluster, the research consortia will improve the awareness of silicon photonics and its potential among chip foundries, end-users, start-ups and other companies. In addition, the research centers will disseminate the results of their projects to the wider industry and public. And they will train young scientists, engineers and researchers in this emerging field. Last, the cluster members will organize a silicon photonics workshop for the industry in 2011.
The European Silicon Photonics Cluster represents more than 30M€ (36M$) in investment by the EU and the participating countries. In establishing the cluster, the members agree that silicon photonics provides new opportunities and opens new markets for European microelectronics companies.
The research projects and their focuses are:
• Boom: terabit-on-chip: micro- and nanoscale silicon photonic integrated components and sub-systems enabling Tb/s capacity, scalable, fully-integrated photonic routers (www.ict-boom.eu).
• Historic: heterogeneous InP-on-silicon technology for optical routing and logic (www.ict-historic.eu).
• Helios: functional integration of photonics electronics on CMOS (www.helios-project.eu).
• Intopsens: highly integrated optical sensors for point-of-care, label-free identification of pathogenic bacteria strains and their antibiotic resistance (www.intopsens.eu).
• PhotonFAB: strengthening the silicon photonics platform ePIXfab, lowering the barriers for access to silicon photonics IC technology (www.photonfab.eu – www.epixfab.eu).
• Platon: Tb/s optical-routing for optical interconnects, using plasmonics (www.ict-platon.eu).
• SOFI: low-cost active optical waveguides and ultralow-power integrated optoelectronics circuits based on novel silicon-organic hybrid technology (www.sofi-ict.eu).
• UK Silicon Photonic: mainly targeting interconnect technologies (www.uksiliconphotonics.co.uk).
• Wadimos: wavelength-division multiplexed photonic layers on CMOS (wadimos.intec.ugent.be).
• Sabio: ultrahigh sensitivity slot-waveguide biosensors on a highly integrated chip for simultaneous diagnosis of multiple diseases (ist-sabio.org).
For more information on the Silicon Photonics Cluster, visit http://www.siliconphotonics.eu/