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NY Creates announces $19M federally-funded AIM Photonics program

02 Dec 2020

AIM-led team selected for research project under DARPA’s Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems initiative.

The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), a program of NY Creates, has announced $19 million in research program awards for advanced integrated photonics under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) program.

The LUMOS program is designed to enable efficient on-chip optical gain in integrated photonics platforms. This will enable complex, end-to-end photonic functionality on a single crystal silicon substrate for optical microsystems.

The $19 million DARPA contract will support a team of academic, industrial, and government partners, led by AIM Photonics, and continues the growth and expansion of this Department of Defense-funded manufacturing institute.

AIM Photonics is a photonic integrated chip manufacturing institute. Its ecosystem provides the photonics industry, the academic research community, and the DoD access to development tools, advanced wafer fabrication, testing, and chip packaging technologies throughout the entire product development cycle.

Dr. Michael Cumbo, CEO of AIM Photonics, commented, “The advantages of on-chip lasers will provide not only significant benefits in military microsystems, but also in diverse commercial applications, including autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, big data, biosensing, and quantum computing.”

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler added, “AIM Photonics is advancing New York State’s leadership in optics, photonics and imaging by attracting industry innovators from across the globe, building on Governor Cuomo’s strategic economic vision that has grown the Finger Lakes region as an optics photonics and imaging industry hub.”

Partner program

Other program partners include; University of California Santa Barbara, Analog Photonics, IQE, and NAsP III/V GmbH.

“UCSB’s extensive experience in laser research and integrated photonics, and recent collaboration with AIM Photonics, DoD experts and key defense contractors, will help accelerate the use of lasers on silicon chips,” said Dr. John Bowers, a professor at UCSB, and Deputy CEO of AIM Photonics.

In addition to addressing the equipment and process challenges associated with this technology, the LUMOS team will develop a standard laser design into non-traditional silicon-based integration. AIM Photonics Tier 1 member and key design partner, Analog Photonics, will help implement these designs, having already established multiple Process Design Kits in the Albany Fab.

“Eight years ago, a team of engineers from the Albany Fab and Analog Photonics began implementing our first PIC designs and our first DARPA program,” said Dr. Mike Watts, CEO of Analog Photonics, and AIM Photonics Chief Technology Officer.

“We are now accelerating this technology to a level of maturity approaching CMOS electronics, including LIDAR on a chip which will ultimately make self-driving vehicles mainstream and 3D camera technology standard in consumer electronics.”

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