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ORC's Silicon Photonics group partners with CompoundTek for design

13 Mar 2019

Associated fabrication facilities located in Southampton's Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics.

The Silicon Photonics Group at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre, UK, is partnering with CompoundTek, Singapore, a global foundry services provider, to offer silicon photonics design services.

This industry partnership aims to accelerate the adoption of silicon photonics technology, a key enabler to transporting high levels of data, instrumental in enhancing operational efficiency and capacity within data centres. Silicon photonics technology is also paving the way for emerging applications such as data transfer, autonomous vehicles, telecoms, biomedical and artificial intelligence.

As CompoundTek continues to gain solid traction and march forward with customer expansion globally, its design services offer combined design and foundry services which are expected to accelerate new industry entrants. This design partnership with the ORC is led by Industry pioneer Prof. Graham Reed, who founded the SiPh Group and who has pioneered UK silicon photonics research over 25 years.

“CompoundTek looks forward to providing the marketplace with silicon photonics design capabilities as a value-added service in addition to our existing foundry fabrication services," said Raj Kumar, CEO of CompoundTek. "This strategic partnership reflects our commitment to developing advanced solutions with commercial benefits."

ORC in new €4M Horizon 2020 project

Announced simultaneously, Smart2Go is a new collaboration between the ORC and eight EU innovation partners, which launched in January, 2019. This 36-month €4 million project, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Dresden, Germany, aims to develop an autonomous energy-supply platform, whereby wearables will last their entire lifetime without the need for recharging.

The widespread introduction of wearable devices is expected to be one of the major trends in upcoming decades. With first applications already entering the market, the future of wearables is expected generate new opportunities for sensing, mobile data storage, wireless communication and the internet-of-things, say the partners.

However, there are many technological challenges, with geometries and state-of-the-art components limiting design and appearance. Making devices thinner, safer, flexible and easy-to-integrate is the major focus of current research and development. The energy supply to wearable devices is probably the most serious challenge and one that Smart2Go aims to overcome. The Smart2Go energy-supply platform will consist of a versatile battery integrated with appropriate energy harvesting technologies.

Professor Hewak and his research group at the ORC will contribute one of the energy harvesting technologies using thermoelectric generation, providing uninterrupted power through body heat. This will expand on previous research demonstrated by Dr Katrina Morgan in the EPSRC-funded Wearable and Flexible Technology Project (WAFT).

The performance of the Smart2Go energy supply platform will be demonstrated in two application cases: sport equipment integrating Smart2Go platform and pressure sensitive array; and safety garments integrating Smart2Go platform and lighting technologies (OLEDs). These represent a challenge for the demonstration of the Smart2Go platform reliability in extreme environments and a proof of technical feasibility of Smart2Go solutions.

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