5 March 2012

Luxtera’s silicon photonics IP to be developed by ST for high-volume 300mm fab

A new agreement has been announced to bring IP and silicon photonics expertise of fabless semiconductor firm Luxtera Inc of Carlsbad, CA, USA to a dedicated production process to be developed by Geneva-based STMicroelectronics at its 300mm wafer fabrication plant in Crolles, France, enabling the firms to provide low-cost, high-volume silicon photonics components and systems.

According to Luxtera, silicon photonics is a key enabler of future very high-speed computing and communications applications (such as optical networking, CPU interconnect, and data storage) as they scale to multi-terabit connectivity. The technology allows high-speed optical communications devices to be built using proven, low-cost silicon manufacturing technology, rather than more expensive compound semiconductor materials containing gallium or indium.

“This will bring silicon photonics into the mainstream of important technologies such as optical networking, ultra-fast computer processors and other applications via the commercial volume availability of a best-in-class silicon photonics IP platform,” says Flavio Benetti, general manager of mixed process division at ST.

The collaboration grants ST the rights to use Luxtera’s silicon photonics technology, which will be implemented in the new ST photonics process and its future generations. ST will provide Luxtera with a reliable, scalable and cost-effective supply chain, allowing it to satisfy its growing market in terms of volume and quality requirements. The firms aim to jointly enable silicon photonics to become a cost-effective mainstream technology.

“Luxtera has found a broad market opportunity for silicon photonics that requires an expanded supply chain and continued technology advancement,” says president & CEO Greg Young. “We can now offer our customers a high-volume, capable source of supply and an aggressive long-term photonic process technology roadmap,” he adds. “This will advance our base technology and enable the integration of optical transceivers with SoCs from advanced CMOS nodes to deliver photonic-enabled SoCs for large-scale systems. In turn, ST can now offer customers the world’s leading optical IP as the two companies expand the silicon photonics ecosystem.”

The 300mm silicon photonics platform developed by ST will offer the following benefits:

  • performance scalability of low-cost transceivers for data rates of 100Gb, 400Gb and upwards;
  • ultra-high-density interconnects with the lowest power consumption; and
  • interoperability, with support for 1310nm, 1490nm and 1550nm wavelengths.

The optimized silicon photonics process will be developed at ST’s Crolles technology center, where its other major CMOS R&D programs (including analog BiCMOS technologies) are running.

Tags: Luxtera Silicon photonics

Visit: www.luxtera.com

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