Aifotec joins European FP7 PLAT4M silicon photonics research project

Aifotec AG says it is part of a European project to develop a complete European silicon photonics supply chain. Led by CEA-Leti Institute for micro- and nanotechnology research, the four-year research project is already underway.

Aifotec AG says it is part of a European project to develop a complete European silicon photonics supply chain. Led by CEA-Leti Institute for micro- and nanotechnology research, the four-year research project is already underway.

The project, named “PLAT4M” (photonic libraries and technology for manufacturing), will focus on advancing an existing silicon photonics platform from a research level to one that can be transitioned to the industry, enabling a volume production and manufacturing capability for different application fields.

The project is part of the EU Framework 7 initiative and funded by the European Union with a grant of €10.2 million. Together with Aifotec AG, the participating consortium includes 15 European research institutes and CMOS companies, industrial and research organizations in design and packaging, as well as end users in different application fields. The group aims to build a complete supply chain from chip-level technology to packaged circuits.

Large emerging markets are driving a surge in output of silicon photonics research and development, according to Aifotec. However, the many elementary building blocks of individual design and packaging approaches make it difficult to exploit such technology commercially. The supply chain being developed by the project partners aims to overcome this limitation. It will be based on the materials processing platforms of Leti, imec, and STMicroelectronics, supported by a unified design environment.

Within the PLAT4M project, Aifotec says it will contribute its experience in photonics packaging and assembly to address the design for manufacturability. It will also address the manufacturing process and equipment aspects of the overall goal, aiming to create a coherent design flow that includes a packaging toolkit.

“The unification of tools and processes is a critical element in bridging the design efforts to a level known in the electronic semiconductor industry. Uncovering and addressing the challenges across the supply chain will significantly enable higher volumes and faster time to market,” said Fredrik Prince, chief officer sales and marketing for Aifotec AG.

The results will be validated across various applications, including telecom and datacom, gas sensing, light detection, and ranging (LiDAR) and vibrometry.

The PLAT4M consortium also includes the University of Paris-Sud, III-V Lab, TNO, Mentor Graphics, PhoeniX BV, Si2, Tyndall-UCC, Polytec, Thales Research and Technology, and NXP.

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