Singapore’s Advanced Micro Foundry (AMF), a spin off from IME, A*STAR focused on providing foundry capabilities for silicon photonics, has announced the availability of a multi-layer Silicon Nitride-on-Silicon (SiN-on-Si) integration platform for photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The platform enables dense integration of 3D photonic nanostructures, which the company says enables small footprints, low loss, improved performance, and fabrication tolerance.
AMF says its SiN-on-Si approach improves upon the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) commonly used for silicon photonics. SOI approaches see the photonic waveguides formed on the topmost silicon layer, with additional functions (potentially using different materials) grown on top. SOI has been used successfully to create optical subassemblies for optical transceivers, active optical cables, medical sensors, optical lidar, and other applications, points out AMF.
“However, in some other products, such as very large scale (VLS) photonic integrated circuits, which require densely integrated on-chip optical routing network, such an SOI platform with only a single waveguide layer becomes limited,” said Dr. Tan Yong Tsong, CEO of AMF. “Alternatively, additional waveguide layers with even lower optical loss are demanded in order to fulfill different complex requirements.”
The SiN-on-Si approach addresses these emerging demands, says AMF. SiN waveguides offer lower optical loss than standard silicon; its low refractive index contrast to cladding oxide also increases fabrication tolerance, which is useful in arrayed waveguide grating (AWG) and other structures. Meanwhile, the AMF implementation of SiN-on-Si enables high-speed modulators, Germanium photodetectors, and thermal tunable devices to be integrated with additional SiN waveguides in either dual-layered SiN/Si or triple-layered SiN/SiN/Si waveguide system.
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