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28 January 2019

EC-funded InPulse indium phosphide PIC project launches

Supported by the European Commission (via €14m of funding) together with the Photonics21 Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the PhotonDelta integrated photonics eco-system, 16 European partners (led by Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands) have started project InPulse, which will offer new-entrant companies direct access to the manufacturing of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) based on indium phosphide (InP), enabling the development of products for a wide range of new markets. The European Commission has defined photonics as one of the six key enabling technologies of Europe.

The project pilot line will enable innovators to develop products rapidly, allowing them to focus on their products rather than the technologically complex task of fabrication.

Currently there are just a few firms that can develop PIC-enabled products, by using their own in-house fabrication lines. Consequently, start-ups with promising ideas have trouble entering the market. The InPulse pilot line therefore enables new entrants to take their concepts from prototype to pilot production on industry tools and processes. InPulse connects the design process to manufacturing, testing and packaging to streamline the development cycle for businesses that do not own a fabrication plant or have production knowledge.

The InPulse consortium partners are the Eindhoven University of Technology, AMIRES, Aarhus University, Bright Photonics, European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), ficonTEC Service, Fraunhofer HHI, III-V Lab, Mellanox Technologies, Photon Design, Synopsys, Smart Photonics, Technobis Fibre Technologies, Tyndall National Institute, VLC Photonics and VPIphotonics. Collectively, they will create manufacturing-grade process design kits (PDKs) that will be the automated intermediary between the design, production and testing. The separation of design and fabrication process know-how enables newcomers to avoid the prohibitive investment overheads in PIC fabrication technology.

InPulse will use closely aligned methods that scale in volume and that focus on accelerating the design cycle, creating more accurate and predictable design tools, manufacturing and high-throughput testing.

The project builds on the pioneering work and technology of the Joint European Platform for Photonic Integration of Components and Circuits (JePPIX.eu), which is already offering PIC prototyping services. InPulse enables the transition to manufacturing.

The first phase of the project will focus on making the technology more robust and on putting in place the business processes for accelerated development programs. In the second stage some 30 new products will be developed to demonstrate the pilot line capability. For this phase the project consortium is looking for additional companies and designers that want to take their ideas and designs to pre-production.

Last November, a second pilot line ‘OIP4NWE’ (Open-Innovation Photonics pilot for North West Europe) was launched to create a new generation of production tools, with support from the European Commission and PhotonDelta. Equipment developed in OIP4NWE (which is also led by Eindhoven University of Technology) may be expected to play a role in the later stages of InPulse, which is highly complementary (focusing on accelerating time to market and eco-system development).

See related items:

OIP4NWE project to create open-innovation photonics pilot line

Tags:  InP PIC

Visit:  www.tue.nl/en/research/research-areas/integrated-photonics/

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