5 January 2021
Tower to develop integrated-laser-on-silicon photonics foundry process
Specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd (which has fabrication plants in Migdal Haemek, Israel, and at its US subsidiaries in Newport Beach, CA and San Antonio, TX, and at TowerJazz Japan Ltd) is participating in the program ‘Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems’ (LUMOS), with partial support from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to create an integrated-laser-on-silicon photonics foundry process, combining III-V laser diodes with its PH18 production silicon photonics platform.
Multi-project wafer (MPW) runs will be coordinated with the new process, when ready. The initial versions of the process development kit (PDK) are expected in 2021 and will include laser and amplifier blocks.
The benefits of laser integration on silicon include an increase in the density of lasers, a reduction in coupling losses between the laser and the photonics, a reduction in components required, and a much-simplified packaging scheme, says Tower. When combined with the firm’s suite of passive and active silicon photonics elements - such as silicon and silicon nitride waveguides, Mach-Zehnder modulators (MZM), and germanium (Ge) photodiodes - the co-integration will enable new products unavailable currently from a volume semiconductor or photonics foundry, it is reckoned.
The process will be part of DARPA’s LUMOS program, which aims to bring high-performance lasers to advanced photonics platforms, addressing commercial and defense applications.