28 November 2011

Singapore’s A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics to commercialize silicon photonics chips

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), plans to commercialize key innovations in silicon chips that have been developed as part of IME’s Silicon Photonics research platform and are designed to support high-speed, high-bandwidth optical communications. Further enhancements to the chips have been enabled through strategic collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Laboratories.

IME and Alcatel-Lucent plan to bring silicon component designs from research to commercial fabrication readiness within the next few years, by working with Globalfoundries Inc of Milpitas, CA, USA (which claims to be the first full-service semiconductor foundry with a global manufacturing and technology footprint). Globalfoundries was formed in March 2009 through a partnership between microprocessor manufacturer AMD and the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC). As well as having manufacturing operations in Dresden, Germany and a new fab under construction in Saratoga County, NY, USA, in January 2010 Globalfoundries acquired Singapore-based silicon foundry Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd.

The scalable, cost-effective silicon building blocks will be made accessible to photonics developers, with the aim of creating new products and propagating the benefits of dramatically increased data rate and processing power, at a reduced cost to the industry.

The collaboration leverages Bell Labs’ design experience and research capability with the development expertise of IME to create a library of silicon photonics devices with the requisite process control monitors (PCMs) and process design kits (PDKs). These photonic devices (ranging from next-generation high-speed optical modulators, germanium photo-detectors, waveguides and other common photonic circuits found in networking equipment) will be offered as a result of the collaboration.

“This milestone reflects the rapidly growing commercial significance of silicon photonics,” comments IME’s executive director professor Dim-Lee Kwong. "IME will continue to enhance our silicon photonics technology platform and work with our strategic partners to bring the benefits of silicon photonics to the industry worldwide,” he adds.

Silicon photonics holds promise for use in communication systems, believes Alice White, chief scientist at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. “Bell Labs has been actively engaging leading microelectronics research institutes in silicon photonics research - it is exciting to see these efforts moving forward into the commercial realm,” she adds.

“Globalfoundries is excited to partner with IME to deliver photonics solutions to customers such as Alcatel-Lucent,” says Raj Kumar, senior VP for Globalfoundries’ 200mm business unit & general manager for Singapore. “Through innovative design kits and advanced materials fabrication techniques, the Globalfoundries-IME team intends to expand the photonics design and manufacturing portfolio to our existing and future customers who are looking for reliable high-volume manufacturing service.”

Tags: Silicon photonics chips

Visit: www.ime.a-star.edu.sg

Visit: www.globalfoundries.com

Visit: www.alcatel-lucent.com

See Latest IssueRSS Feed