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Synopsys, Juniper Networks Form Silicon Photonics Company

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Synopsys and Juniper Networks have closed a transaction to form a separate company that will provide the industry with an open silicon photonics platform to address the growing photonic requirements in applications including health care, telecom, lidar, and quantum computing.

The new company’s open silicon photonics platform will include integrated lasers, optical amplifiers, and a full suite of photonic components to form a complete solution that will be accessible through a process design kit (PDK). The name of the company will be announced at a later date. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time.

The new company will be jointly owned by Synopsys and Juniper, with Synopsys as the majority owner. Its financial results will be consolidated into Synopsys financials. While Synopsys expects the investment to be slightly dilutive to fiscal 2022 earnings, the investment is not material and will not affect Synopsys’ fiscal second quarter and full year 2022 guidance ranges provided on Feb. 16. There is no change to Juniper’s full year financial outlook as a result of this transaction.

The company is being formed, in part, from the carve-out of integrated silicon photonics assets from Juniper, which includes more than 200 patents on photonic device design and process integration. While part of Juniper, the new company has closely collaborated with Tower Semiconductor to develop and qualify Tower Semiconductor’s PH18DA process technology to enable the industry’s first “laser-on-a-chip” open silicon photonics platform. To demonstrate capabilities of this platform and accelerate customer adoption of the technology, the new company has created 400G and 800G photonics reference designs with integrated lasers and expects first samples to be available in summer 2022.

“We have been strong supporters of integrated silicon photonics, and we believe the new company will drive development of these systems by using an advanced open platform that will dramatically reduce costs and increase the performance and reliability of designs across multiple use cases,” said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks. “We are excited to continue to collaborate with the new company to enable a broad ecosystem to efficiently develop next-generation optical transceiver and co-packaged designs."

A key challenge for silicon photonics has been the cost of adding discrete lasers, which includes the manufacturing and the assembly and alignment of those lasers onto the photonic chip. This becomes more important as the number of laser channels and the overall bandwidth increases. By processing the indium phosphide (InP) materials directly onto the silicon photonics wafer, the PH18DA platform reduces the cost and time of adding lasers, enabling volume scalability and improved power efficiency. In addition, monolithically integrated lasers on silicon wafers improves overall reliability and simplifies packaging. This “laser-on-a-chip” open silicon photonics platform will bring integrated photonics to a host of new applications and markets that were previously not thought possible.

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2022
GLOSSARY
chip
1. A localized fracture at the end of a cleaved optical fiber or on a glass surface. 2. An integrated circuit.
integrated laser
A type of laser for which a large number of the components can be fabricated in or upon a single substrate.
quantum
Smallest amount into which the energy of a wave can be divided. The quantum is proportional to the frequency of the wave. See photon.
Businessnew companyjoint investmentintegrated photonicslaserschipsemiconductorintegrated laserindium phosphidematerialsquantumsilicon photonicsSynopsysJuniper NetworksProcess Design Kitoptical amplifierscomponentsAmericasIndustry News

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