21 July 2010


European silicon photonics consortia formed into cluster 

Ten European R&D project consortia focusing on silicon photonics are to coordinate their efforts to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology and to strengthen the European electronics industry’s ability in order to compete globally.

Under the umbrella of the European Silicon Photonics Cluster, the projects will coordinate efforts to:

  • raise awareness of the potential of silicon photonics among chip foundries, end-users, start-ups and other companies;
  • broadly disseminate the results of their projects; and
  •  train young scientists, engineers and researchers in this emerging field.

Silicon photonics, which uses CMOS techniques to integrate optics technology onto chips, can substantially lower the cost, size and power consumption compared with existing photonics technologies, while improving device performance.

CMOS photonics could lead to low-cost solutions for applications including optical communications, optical interconnects between semiconductor chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing, and biological applications. It is considered to be the only viable technology to meet the cost and volume demand of such markets.

Cluster members aim to organize a silicon photonics workshop for the industry in 2011 and cooperate on training programs.

The European Silicon Photonics Cluster represents more than €30m ($36m) in investment by the European Union and European countries. In establishing the cluster, the members agree that it is of strategic importance to maintain photonic chip-design and chip-integration functions in Europe to improve Europe’s ability to compete globally. Silicon photonics also provides new opportunities and opens new markets for European microelectronics companies.

The research projects and their focuses are:

  • ‘Boom’, terabit-on-chip: micro- and nano-scale silicon photonic integrated components and sub-systems enabling Tb/s capacity, scalable and fully integrated photonic routers (;
  • ‘Historic’, heterogeneous InP on silicon technology for optical routing and logic (;
  • ‘Helios’, photonics electronics functional integration on CMOS (; 
  • ‘Intopsens’, a highly integrated optical sensor for point-of-care, label-free identification of pathogenic bacteria strains and their antibiotic resistance (;
    • ‘PhotonFAB’: lowering the barriers for access to silicon photonics IC technology by enhancing the silicon photonics platform ePIXfab (,;
    • ‘Platon’, Terabit/second optical-routing fabrics for optical interconnects adopting plasmonics (;
    • ‘SOFI’, new low-cost active optical waveguides and ultra-low-power integrated optoelectronics circuits based on novel silicon-organic hybrid technology (;  
    • ‘UK Silicon Photonics’ (;  
    • ‘Wadimos’, wavelength division multi-plexed photonic layer on CMOS (; and
    • ‘Sabio’. This completed project focused on ultra-high-sensitivity slot-waveguide biosensor on a highly integrated chip for simultaneous diagnosis of multiple diseases (

See related items:

First WDM-compatible silicon photonics detector operating at 32GHz

Luxtera’s silicon CMOS photonics modulators now support 30Gb/s serial data rates

Kotura demos first silicon photonics mux/demux for 0.5Tb/s transmission

Search: Silicon photonics