X-FAB will lead the photonixFAB project, which will focus on photonics product innovation and commercialization with a path to high-volume manufacturing.
Dendermonde, Belgium – June 14, 2023
The photonixFAB project aims to empower photonics innovation by SMEs and large entities by providing low barrier access to both low-loss silicon nitride (SiN) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) based photonics platforms with indium phosphide (InP) and lithium niobate (LNO) heterogenous integration capabilities.
The photonixFAB consortium is speareheaded by X-FAB and is made up of major public and private enterprises, plus highly respected research institutes, all focusing on the development and production of next-generation silicon photonics. These high-profile partners include technology and manufacturing service providers X-FAB, LIGENTEC, SMART Photonics, PHIX Photonics Assembly and leading PIC design software provider Luceda Photonics, plus application developers Nokia, Nvidia, Aryballe, Brolis Sensor Technology and PhotonFirst, as well as the major research organizations CEA-Leti and IMEC.
Luceda Photonics will collaborate with its European partners to establish mature process design kits (PDKs) and start bringing European photonic IC technologies to manufacturing. The integration of a highly automated design flow plays a pivotal role in this value chain.
Within the photonixFAB initiative, Luceda will focus on setting major steps towards design enablement for photonic ICs:
Establish mature process design kits for silicon (SOI) and silicon nitride (SiN) photonic IC technologies established at X-Fab based on Imec’s SOI technology and Ligentec’s SiN technology.
Enable design for heterogenous integration of InP chiplets with SMART Photonics and electro-optical materials such as Lithium Niobate.
Reduce cost of packaging by introducing assembly design kits that incorporate packaging rules and electro-optical interfaces.
Reduce time-to-market and increase first-time-right design by further automating photonic IC design implementation with a schematic-assisted design flow, placement and routing automation and simulation.
“Considering the substantial investment required for the development and manufacturing of photonic integrated circuits (PICs), a reliable and automated design flow is of essential importance”, states Pieter Dumon, Luceda Photonics’ CTO and adds “Through this project, we aim to set a major step toward PIC design based on well-calibrated simulation models, seamlessly integrated with Luceda’s automated design flow, thus minimizing errors and ensuring efficiency”.
A comprehensive set of photonics foundry and assembly capabilities will be covered by photonixFAB. These will include:
Industry-scale silicon photonics manufacturing services with low entry barriers and fast turnaround times for both low-loss SiN and SOI based PICs.
Enablement of microtransfer printing and direct bonding technologies for InP, LNO and germanium based active and passive component heterogeneous integration on SiN and SOI based PIC platforms.
Development of scalable packaging and testing solutions in alignment with the (heterogeneous) PIC platform developments.
Process design kit based design automation enablement for the photonic platforms.
As a part of the project, six demonstrators are being built to validate the implemented photonics value chains. These include applications such as datacom and optical switches, coherent optical transceiver, IR spectrometer for sensing, digital olfaction sensor for consumer healthcare and a health monitoring demonstrator.
The project is being supported by the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking (KDT JU), with funding from EU and the national authorities. The combination of this funding and the investments being directly made by each of the consortium members comes to a total of Euro 47.6 million. A major part of the work of this 3.5 year project will be conducted at X-FAB’s foundry operation in Corbeil-Essonnes, France, with additional activities also undertaken at the numerous other partners’ sites across Europe.
InP – Indium Phosphide
IR – Infrared
LiDAR – Light Detection and Ranging
LNO – Lithium Niobate-on-Insulator
PIC – Photonic Integrated Circuit
SiN – Silicon Nitride
SME – Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises
SOI – Silicon-on-Insulator
About Luceda Photonics
Luceda Photonics is a leading provider of photonic integrated circuit (PIC) design software and services. The Luceda Photonics Design Platform enables designers to design, simulate, and optimize photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and empowers photonic designers to quickly achieve their tape-out, getting their designs right the first time.
MarCom & Event Coordinator
X-FAB Silicon Foundries
More information at: www.photonixfab.eu
photonixFAB is co-funded by the European Union under grant agreement no. 101111896. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
The project is supported by the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking and its members including top-up funding by Belgium, Germany, France, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland