EU’s PLAT4M project has created a European supply chain in silicon photonics

July 14, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Based on mature platforms at Leti, STMicroelectronics and imec, the supply chain is designed to speed industrialization of the technology, which is expected to bring substantial breakthroughs in very high-speed data communications, telecommunications and supercomputing.

Research body Leti (Grenoble, France) has announced that the European FP7 project “PLAT4M” has now been completed with results that exceeded expectations.

 

Si photonics has long been expected to bring progress in data transmission in many sectors; it is also one of the most promising industrial-production candidates because of its potential for large-scale and low-cost production capability in existing CMOS foundries.

 

The European Commission launched the 15-member PLAT4M project in 2012 to build a Si photonics supply chain in Europe that would speed industrialization of the technology by enabling its seamless transition to commercial production.

 

The main objective of PLAT4M was to advance existing silicon photonics research foundries and seamlessly transition to pilot line operation, and industrial manufacturing, of products based on silicon photonics. The supply chain is based on three different but complementary technology platforms at Leti, STMicroelectronics and imec.

 

Leti’s 8,500m 2 cleanroom facility includes a 200 mm pilot line that enables fabrication of passives, detectors, modulators and integrated lasers with a focus on high-bandwidth devices. The project team developed a new Si-photonic platform based on a 310 nm silicon film on top of an 800 nm buried oxide (BOX) on a high-resistivity silicon substrate. Since the targeted applications for the project were O-band transceivers and receivers, most of the developed devices are suitable for 1310 nm operations.

 

CEA-LETI has developed 3 PDKs (process design kits)which are dedicated to Multi Project Wafers (MPW) runs on this silicon photonics technology, which is now offered via the brokers CMP and Europractice. Moreover, III-V Lab has designed and co-fabricated a state-of-the-art integrated hybrid III-V/Si transmitter using a wafer bonding technique on this platform.

 

STMicroelectronics, the first 300mm wafer silicon photonics device manufacturer, is a key solution provider for 100 Gbps transceiver products since 2016. In parallel to its industrial activity, during the PLAT4M project ST developed another silicon photonics technology aimed at generating and