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Helios Project Awarded $12M

Photonics.com
Sep 2008
GRENOBLE, France, Sept. 4, 2008 -- Helios, a four-year project that seeks to find an innovative way to combine a photonic layer with a CMOS circuit, has been awarded an €8.5 million ($12 million) grant from the European Commission.

Helios (photonics electronics functional integration on CMOS), a project within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) theme of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), is coordinated by CEA-LETI (Electronics and Information Technology Laboratory of the French Atomic Energy Commission) and involves 19 European partners in France, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

CMOS photonics is being pursued as a way to improve a system's performance while also reducing size and cost in a range of applications, such as optical communications, optical interconnections between semiconductor chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing, and biological applications.

Previous research projects have demonstated basic CMOS photonics building blocks, such as a µlaser, a detector, a coupling and link.

As the next step in the process, Helios proposes to integrate photonics components with integrated circuits as a joint effort with major players in the European CMOS photonics community to enable an integrated design and fabrication method that can be used by EU manufacturers.

The goal of Helios, which began in May, is to find a new, innovative way to use microelectronics fabrication processes to combine a photonic layer with a CMOS circuit.

Objectives of the project include developing high-performance building blocks, such as wavelength division multiplexing sources by III-V/Si heterogeneous integration, fast modulators and detectors, passive circuits and packaging. It also includes creating dedicated TIA and modulator drivers. Several components addressing different industrial needs will be built, including a 40 Gb/s modulator, a 10 X 10 Gb/s transceiver, a photonic QAM-10 Gb/s wireless transmission system and a mixed analog and digital transceiver module for multifunction antennas.

Helios will also investigate some more promising, but challenging, alternative approaches, such as silicon lasers and amorphous silicon modulators, which offer CMOS integration advantages for the next generation of photonic ICs.

For more information, visit: www.cea.fr/english_portal


GLOSSARY
detector
1. A device designed to convert the energy of incident radiation into another form for the determination of the presence of the radiation. The device may function by electrical, photographic or visual means. 2. A device that provides an electric output that is a useful measure of the radiation that is incident on the device.
modulator
See acousto-optic modulator; electro-optic modulator.
optical
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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