Photonic integrated circuits (PICs)

A technology that harnesses the power of light to create energy-efficient, faster, and more accurate microchips, but what exactly is ‘integrated photonics’?

How it works

  • Photons (light) are used to transfer, sense, process, and transmit information.
  • PICs can combine multiple photonic (and electronic) functions in a single chip.
  • They’re faster and more sustainable than existing solutions.
  • These new properties drive change across multiple industries and emerging technologies.
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About the technology

What is photonics?

Photonics is similar to electronics. However, instead of electrons, it uses photons to transfer information. Photonic technology detects, generates, transports and processes light. Current uses include lasers, sensors, and fibre-optic networks. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) combine two or more photonic functions into a single chip to create new, faster, and more energy efficient devices. Leveraging the power of light, PICs are highly effective at processing and transmitting data – sensing with the highest level of precision. They can also be integrated alongside traditional electronic chips.

Why is integrated photonics beneficial?

We’re currently living in a technological revolution where the generation of data and sensing devices is rapidly accelerating. Electronic microchip technology on its own cannot keep pace, and therefore requires additional photonic functionalities. The combination with integrated photonics offers a sustainable solution to society’s energy consumption and technological challenges such as the expansion of 5G data networks and data centres, safer autonomous driving vehicles, and more efficient food production. Backed by 30 years of research, the PhotonDelta ecosystem offers a robust end-to-end supply chain for integrated photonics from design and fabrication to packaging and testing.

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What production platforms are offered?

Pushing the boundaries of digital innovation, we’re a leading ecosystem for the integrated photonics industry that stimulates the creation of new products and applications. PhotonDelta offers two production platforms: Indium Phosphide (InP), Silicon Nitride (SiN), plus a pilot line for prototypes using Silicon Photonics (SiPh).

  • Indium Phosphide (InP) PICs have active laser generation, amplification, control, and detection. This makes them an ideal component for communication and sensing applications.
  • Silicon Nitride (SiN) PICs have a vast spectral range and ultra low-loss waveguide. This makes them highly suited to detectors, spectrometers, biosensors, and quantum computers.
  • Silicon Photonics (SiPh) PICs provide low losses for passive components like waveguides and can be used in minuscule photonic circuits. They are compatible with existing CMOS (electronic) fabrication.
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Hybrid integration provides the best of both worlds

By combining and configuring different chip types (including existing electronic chips) in a hybrid or heterogeneous integration, it is possible to leverage the strengths of each. Taking this complementary approach to integration addresses the demand for increasingly sophisticated solutions.

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Our end-to-end supply chain

  • Research & Development
  • Design & Simulation
  • Manufacturing & Prototyping
  • Packaging & Assembly
  • Products & Applications
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