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Open Platform Supports Laser Integration on Silicon PICs

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Newly launched company OpenLight has introduced the first open silicon photonics platform with integrated lasers. The platform reaches a level of laser integration and scalability that enables accelerated development of high-performance photonic integrated circuits (PICs) in applications including telecom, datacom, lidar, health care, AI, and optical computing.

Laser integration has long been a challenge in silicon photonics; adding discrete lasers is costly and labor intensive due to the challenging alignment process. As the number of laser channels and overall bandwidth increases, integration becomes more important.

Crucially, Openlight’s technology uses an indium phosphide (InP) modulator that OpenLight COO Thomas Mader noted is unique to the company and provides very low loss to deliver a significant improvement over silicon modulators. 

OpenLight debuted by name this week following the close of a transaction in April between Synopsys and Juniper Networks that intended to form a separate, independent company.

The technology has passed qualification and reliability tests on Tower Semiconductor’s PH18DA production process. By processing the InP materials directly on the silicon photonics wafer, the PH18DA platform reduces the cost and time required to add lasers, enabling volume scalability and improved power efficiency. Additionally, monolithically integrated lasers improve overall reliability and simplify packaging.

“OpenLight’s open silicon photonics platform with integrated lasers enables scaling from one laser to hundreds, or even thousands of lasers per PIC, all monolithically integrated at the wafer level,” Mader said. “With our platform, companies can enter emerging markets faster, accelerate new applications, and completely change the way their teams build photonic systems of tomorrow.”

OpenLight expects the first open multi-project wafer shuttle run on the PH18DA process as well as 400G and 800G reference designs with integrated lasers to be available in summer 2022.

The key elements that differentiate OpenLight, Mader said,  are its “open” recipes for chip designs combined with the unique integrated lasers on which those recipes are based. The company develops modular templates of photonic chip designs with an emphasis on integrated InP lasers, operating between 1310 and 1550 nm. Customers can use these PDKs to develop a chip design that has already been validated.

“OpenLight is paving the way for the new generation of silicon photonics by enabling the scalable integration of lasers in pluggable and co-packaged optics,” said Aveek Sarkar, vice president of engineering at Synopsys. “The combination of Synopsys’ unified electronic and photonic design solution and OpenLight’s innovative silicon photonics platform will significantly accelerate the development of photonics ICs.”

OpenLight’s platform includes integrated lasers, optical amplifiers, modulators, photodetectors, and other key photonic components to form a complete solution for low-power, high-performance photonics ICs. In addition, OpenLight offers select PIC designs and design services to accelerate time to market.

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2022
GLOSSARY
modulator
See acousto-optic modulator; electro-optic modulator.
gain
Also known as amplification. 1. The increase in a signal that is transmitted from one point to another through an amplifier. A material that exhibits gain rather than absorption, at certain frequencies for a signal passing through it, is known as an active medium. 2. With reference to optical properties, the term may be defined in two ways: a. the relative brightness of a rear projection screen as compared with a perfect lambertian reflective diffuser; b. the ratio of brightness in footlamberts...
integrated laser
A type of laser for which a large number of the components can be fabricated in or upon a single substrate.
lidar
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
BusinesssemiconductorsOpenLightSynopsysJuniper Networkslasersmodulatorgainopticssilicon photonicsco-packaged opticsintegrated lasermaterialsindium phosphideInPPICphotonic integrated circuitlidarFiber Optics & CommunicationsAmericasintegrated photonicsIndustry News

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