IPSR-I Presents: Autumn Meeting 2022 Round-Up16 February 2023
One of the highlights of PIC Summit Europe 2022, was the autumn meeting of the Integrated Photonics Systems Roadmap – International (IPSR-I). Bringing together industry representatives, leading academics, and chip manufacturers from around the world, the event was another important step towards delivering integrated photonics killer applications by 2035.
IPSR-I Roadmapping Director, Peter van Arkel, was responsible for organising the autumn meeting, which was focussed on the implications of market pull requirements for PICs. Right now, he’s overseeing updates to the roadmap ready for the next meeting in June 2023, where these requirements are translated to technology roadmaps. We caught up with Peter to get the main headlines from November, key findings across different industries, and what we can expect on the next step of the journey.
The Objective Of IPSR-I
The goal of the IPSR-I is to establish and sustain a trust-based global network of industrial, and research and development partners working together to define the future of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). It’s a joint initiative between PhotonDelta in Europe and the Microphotonics Center at MIT in the United States. So far, more than 400 experts have contributed to the roadmap.
Together, the IPSR-I network will enable the fastest possible scaling of integrated photonics for applications by delivering an up-to-date technology roadmap driven by market needs. The roadmap meetings are a unique opportunity to get everyone around the same table to discuss the way forward, bridging the gaps between industry and academia, markets and technologies, as well as electronics and photonics.
This autumn in Eindhoven, we welcomed more than 300 participants to the IPSR-I meeting – making it the largest event to date. Representatives from both Europe and the US got around the same table to discuss the challenges facing different industries and how the integration of photonics and electronics can play a major role in solving them. Here’s a summary of the main talking points from each sector:
To ensure safety and to keep expensive equipment intact, the aerospace industry has an obvious need for more advanced sensing technology, including quantum sensing. With increased use of reusable uncrewed spacecraft – such as the European Space Agency’s Space Rider – structural health monitoring is a critical area, especially for measuring things like temperature, vibrations, strain, and for crack detection. Alongside 3D imaging, it’s here that spectroscopy and phase shift can play an important role, as well as thermal sensing in satellite panels to capture images at night. Lidar is also an important technology for collision avoidance – sensing other objects, such as other satellites and debris. RF photonics can help to improve inter-satellite communication. In addition, there’s potential for intra-platform communication to be significantly enhanced by integrated photonic interconnects.
Integrated photonics has many potential applications in agri-food. As with aerospace, the predominant demand is for high-quality sensing. 3D imaging presents the opportunity for automated picking, whilst spectroscopy and phase shift can help the entire supply chain measure and monitor nutrients and ripeness, water content, disease, and even shelf life.
In many respects, we’re drawing ever closer to a future where handheld sensing devices, incorporating photonic chips, are in the hands of food producers, distributors, and even retailers. On the journey from field to fork, technology will play an increasingly important role, from helping producers optimise the quality of their produce to measuring the optimum time to pick produce and ensuring it stays fresh in transit.
As people, via connected devices, continue to generate vast quantities of data, more bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds are needed to keep up with demand. Heat dissipation in data centres is a major challenge. In order to optimise future solutions, the industry will need to explore the most effective ways of combining different photonic materials – to leverage their unique properties – together with electronics in heterogeneous integration.
Healthcare And Medical
There’s no question that PICs can bring advanced sensing technology to frontline healthcare workers and patients at the point of care (POC). There are many potential applications for the integration of light source and diagnostic sensors in small form factor imaging technology. In real-time handheld sensor fusion, OCT, Raman, and fluorescent could be combined, scanning different depths of the body using multiple wavelengths. In fact, it could soon be possible to obtain a complete image of a body part – such as a limb – via a single device. Spectroscopy and phase shift have enormous potential in healthcare, from microfluidic analysis to cancer detection and even DNA sequencing.
Quantum And AI
These two powerful and emerging technologies present a new horizon for the future applications of PICs. In that sense, integrated photonics is a key enabler for quantum computing and communication, from interconnects in QKD to optical signal processing in computations. In addition, spectroscopy and phase shift have the potential applications in gravity detection, electromagnetic fields, clocks, and gyroscopes.
Potentially, quantum computers could outperform even today’s most advanced supercomputers by handling previously unfeasible calculations in a matter of seconds. In quantum communications, one of the most promising and prominent uses is in quantum cryptography to securely protect and encrypt communication channels.
In terms of data transfer, photonic AI has the potential to eliminate the need to convert photonic signals to electronic signals and back again. There’s also a viable application for PICs in neuromorphic computing – where computers replicate the human brain and central nervous system.
A Look Ahead To 2023
The IPSR-I is a collaborative effort, which draws strength from a powerful ecosystem of technologists, manufacturers, investors, and users of photonic chips and devices. Next June, contributors to the roadmap will reconvene in Cambridge, Massachusetts at MIT to drive the roadmap forward.
The next meeting will build on the progress we’ve already made. Primarily, it will help to align and evolve developments in technology in tandem with industry needs. Next time we translate the application and module needs to integrated photonic technology gaps and solutions.
One of the most important aspects of the IPSR-I Roadmap meetings is the opportunity to bring companies and technologists together, so they can exchange relevant knowledge and information around the needs of the market, and the sometimes untapped yet powerful potential of integrated photonic technology.
Interested in contributing to the IPSR-I? For details of how to get involved, email Jorn Smeets.