FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.


7 February 2008


European roadmap for photonics and nanotechnologies

After a two-year process involving workshops, symposia and interviews with experts, the project Merging Optics and Nanotechnologies (MONA), which was launched in June 2005 and is funded by the European Commission within its 6th Framework Program (FP6), has released the ‘European Roadmap for Photonics and Nanotechnologies’. This identifies potential synergies between photonics/nanophotonics and nanomaterials/nanotechnologies.

More than 300 professionals in industry and academia contributed to the content of the MONA Roadmap, including the following MONA members: project leader CEA LETI plus Alcatel-Thales III-V Lab, market research firm Yole Developpement, and Paris-based network Optics Valley and the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) of France; epitaxial deposition equipment maker Aixtron AG, glass-maker Schott AG and research organization VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH (VDI TZ) of Germany; process equipment maker ASM-International of The Netherlands; independent research institute IMEC of Belgium; and contract R&D firm Acreo AB of Sweden.

The roadmap’s main component is identification of the highest-priority economic growth areas, taking into account market size, market growth, and the positioning of European industry and research in these areas.

The roadmap’s three principal objectives are to:

  • create a consensus viewpoint on the development of research, technologies and innovation;
  • promote the timely worldwide exchange of scientific results, market development perspectives, and technology trends;
  • contribute to the intelligent deployment of developmental resources at the regional, national, and European levels.

Key nanomaterials identified as having the strongest impact for nanophotonics include: quantum dots and wires in silicon, III-V and II-VI materials; and high-index-contrast silicon and III-V nanostructures.

The roadmap also identifies key devices for major applications, and makes corresponding recommendations, including:

  • for photovoltaics, develop III-V quantum dot (QD) technology with better control of QD formation, allowing improved efficiency;
  • for imaging, maintain R&D on III-V QD infrared sensors (which can improve responsivity, boosting performance and potentially simplifying fabrication), with key players such as France’s Sofradir interested as an alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) and conventional quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs);
  • for lighting (involving major players Osram in Germany and Philips in The Netherlands), intensify R&D on ZnO nanowire-based LEDs (to improve p-type doping, carrier injection and manufacturability) and LEDs using III-V photonic crystal (to develop a low-cost process, with optimized light extraction);
  • for datacoms/telecoms (involving major players Bookham in the UK and 3S Photonics in France), maintain R&D on further chip-level electronic/photonic integration (including developing low-cost, wafer-scale approaches to incorporating III-V devices on Si, for low-cost, high-performance optical links and l ow-cost optical transceivers);
  • for sensors, maintain R&D on II-VI QD-based fluorescent markers (to achieve accurate control of the size distribution, for enhanced sensitivity in biosensors);
  • for optical interconnects , maintain R&D on III-V QD laser sources (to improve manufacturability, CMOS compatibility and temperature stability, for compact, high-data-rate devices that are manufacturable using microelectronics equipment).

MONA says that its roadmap has been developed in the context of worldwide contributions and competition, with strategic cooperation with roadmapping activities in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the USA ensuring its overall relevance. It is intended to serve as an informed input to research funding decisions for future EC FP7 work programs. In particular, the results can be used to build upcoming strategic research agendas for both nanomaterials and photonics.

Interested parties are encouraged to distribute the document, which is available at the web address below. The roadmap will be updated regularly through the web-site, allowing the nanophotonics community to stay informed on the research and industrial evolution of nanophotonics.

Search: Photonics