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3 May 2019

EU project PLASMOfab completed

Synopsys Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA ― which provides electronic design automation (EDA) software, semiconductor IP and services for chip and electronic system design ― says that PLASMOfab, a three-year collaborative project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 ICT research and innovation program, has been completed to enable mass manufacturing of high-performance plasmo-photonic components.

Launched in 2016, the project brought together ten industrial partners and academic and research institutes in the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) and optoelectronics value chain, including coordinator Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), ams (Austria), AMO (Germany), PhoeniX Software, now part of Synopsys’ Photonic Solutions (Netherlands), ETHZ (Switzerland), Micram (Germany), University of Saarland (Germany), Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria), University of Burgundy (France) and Mellanox (Israel).

PLASMOfab has advanced the state of the art in PICs and CMOS-compatible plasmonics for optical data communications and biosensing for point-of-care applications, consolidating PICs with electronic ICs in volume manufacturing. The project focused on CMOS-compatible metals and photonic structures that are harmonically co-integrated with electronics using standardized CMOS processes. As part of project validation, the PIC platform was used along with advanced peripherals to develop predominant functional modules with what is claimed to be unprecedented performance.

A key achievement was the development of an ultra-compact plasmonic transmitter, with a footprint of 90µm x 5.5µm, to transmit 0.8TBit/s (800Gbit/s) through four individual 0.2TBit/s transmitters. The project also demonstrated CMOS-compatible plasmonic waveguides with the lowest possible losses, as described in Nature’s Scientific Reports in September 2018.

“PLASMOfab’s main goal has been to address the ever increasing needs for low-energy, small-size, high-complexity and high-performance mass-manufactured PICs,” says Nikos Pleros, assistant professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “We have achieved this by developing a revolutionary yet CMOS-compatible fabrication platform for seamless co-integration of active plasmonics with photonic and electronic components.”

As a result of PLASMOfab, two new companies have been launched to commercialize the new technologies:

  • bialoom Ltd will further explore plasmo-photonic biosensors in multi-channel and high-sensitivity point-of-care diagnostics by combining plasmonic sensors with integrated Si3N4 photonic functionalities, electrical controls, biofunctionalization techniques, and microfluidics.
  • Polariton Technologies Ltd specializes in new photonic and electronic technologies for the testing, sensing and telecoms market. Their energy-efficient and low-footprint plasmonic modulator will convert microwave signals to optical signals.

“Further development of CMOS-compatible plasmonic components with CMOS fabrication processes and photonics technologies will demonstrate plasmonics’ clear advantages in PICs,” expects Dr Dimitris Tsiokos, principal researcher at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “When the best of all three worlds of plasmonics, photonics and electronics converge in a single integration platform, PICs with unprecedented performance and functionality will be realized, targeting a diverse set of applications and industrial needs while meeting mass-production requirements,” he adds.

“We are pleased to have been working closely with the partners in this project and especially with AMO and ams to develop R&D PDKs [process design kits] for the new PLASMOfab integration technology,” says Twan Korthorst, director of Synopsys’ Photonic Solutions. “The PDKs are supported by our PIC design platform, which provides the industry’s only full design flow from photonic device level to PIC to system levels,” he adds.

Tags: Synopsys PIC EDA software

Visit:  www.plasmofab.eu

Visit:  www.synopsys.com/photonic-solutions.html

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