INSPIRE aims to revolutionize photonic integrated circuit technology by combining two technologies, InP photonics and SiN photonics, in a single platform through wafer-scale micro-transfer printing technology.
This platform will allow to combine high-performance III-V opto-electronic components (semiconductor optical amplifiers, high-speed phase modulators and photodetectors) operating in the C-band with the high-performance passive functionality of the SiN platform (high performance filters, 5dB/m waveguide loss), on 200mm wafers.
The micro-transfer printing integration approach enables high-throughput integration of III-V devices on SiN photonic integrated circuits with better than 1 um alignment accuracy, resulting in high-performance, low-cost photonic integrated circuits.
While being applicable in a wide range of mega-markets, the INSPIRE technology will be validated by three use cases:
- the case of a distributed fiber sensing readout unit based,
- the case of a microwave photonics RF pulse generator and
- a datacenter switch fabric.
Compact models of the III-V opto-electronic components will be developed enabling designers to exploit this platform for a wide range of applications.
INSPIRE will sustain Europe's industrial leadership in photonics by combining the generic integrated foundry technology at the pioneering pure-play foundry SmartPhotonics, and the silicon photonics pioneer IMEC, with the micro-transfer printing technology at X-Celeprint, making this a world-first platform combining the strengths of all known PIC manufacturing platforms.
It will also strengthen the European manufacturing base by developing and implementing processing steps that are key to removing expensive assembly steps in photonic IC based product realization. The methods will be developed for silicon nitride – indium phosphide integration.
Since the optical coupling happens through a silicon intermediate layer the developed technology can be ported to silicon CMOS photonics as well.