VTT joins the ePIXfab consortium to improve industrial access to silicon photonics

16.02.2012

ESSenTIAL, a new EU FP7 project, was recently launched with the goal to allow better industrial access to silicon photonics technology. This will be realized by expanding the existing services of ePIXfab to better cover the complete technology chain from an idea to a product. As a new partner in ePIXfab, VTT will contribute to this initiative by offering integration and packaging solutions for the silicon photonic chips fabricated in ePIXfab. The new offering will be based on µm-scale silicon-on-insulator (SOI) waveguide technology that has been developed at VTT since 1997.

ESSenTIAL, a new EU FP7 project, was recently launched with the goal to allow better industrial access to silicon photonics technology. This will be realized by expanding the existing services of ePIXfab to better cover the complete technology chain from an idea to a product. As a new partner in ePIXfab, VTT will contribute to this initiative by offering integration and packaging solutions for the silicon photonic chips fabricated in ePIXfab. The new offering will be based on µm-scale silicon-on-insulator (SOI) waveguide technology that has been developed at VTT since 1997.

Silicon photonics employs silicon as base material to fabricate optical components, such as filters, modulators, or lasers. By sharing advanced fabrication technology with microelectronics and/or MEMS it is possible to integrate optical functions with electronic, optoelectronic, micromechanical and microfluidic functions, and to produce integrated optical chips with high density, reproducibility and reliability.

In recent years, there has been much scientific and technological progress in the field. Still, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face steep hurdles if they want access to this advanced technology for their innovative products. This has mostly to do with the lack of a complete idea-to-product chain.

Since 2006, Europe has invested in facilitating industrial access to silicon photonics. A most notable initiative has been ePIXfab. It was established by imec and CEA-LETI and it has provided training, design kits, and access to multiproject wafer (MPW) runs. 

Now, a new FP7 support action, called ESSenTIAL will expand the services of ePIXfab. The new partners involved are VTT (Finland), IHP GmbH (Germany), TNO (Netherlands), Tyndall Institute (Ireland) and CMC Microsystems (Canada). The following new services of ePIXfab will be introduced in ESSenTIAL:

  • First evaluation (feasibility) studies
  • New cost-sharing fiber attachment and integration services
  • MPW wafers with standardized modulators, thermo-optics and Ge photodiodes
  • Agreements with several fabs on wafer testing and process benchmarking
  • Training for the new activities.

The project runs from October 2011 to September 2014 and has a budget of 1.65 million euro. For more information, go to www.epixfab.eu or contact Timo Aalto (timo.aalto [at] vtt [dot] fi / +358 20 722 6694).

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