07 Mar 2012
Collaboration between partners “will bring silicon photonics into mainstream markets”.STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor developer serving customers across the electronics industry and Luxtera, a leader in silicon photonics, have announced a joint agreement to bring Luxtera’s leading IP and knowledge in silicon photonics to a dedicated process to be developed by ST at its 300mm facility in Crolles, France.
Production at ST Microelectronics’ Crolles site will enable the two companies to support the market with the world’s most advanced low-cost, high-volume solution for silicon photonics components and systems.
Silicon photonics is regarded as a key enabler of future high-speed computing and communications applications such as optical networking, CPU interconnects, and data storage, as such devices would scale to multi-terabit connectivity.
The technology allows high-speed optical communications devices to be built using established, low-cost silicon manufacturing technology, rather than more expensive compound semiconductor materials containing gallium or indium.
Flavio Benetti, general manager of the mixed process division at ST Microelectronics, commented, “The powerful synergy of this partnership, coming from the complementary strengths of the two companies, represents a tremendous breakthrough. This venture will bring silicon photonics into the mainstream of important technologies such as optical networking, ultra-fast computer processors and other applications via the commercial volume-availability of a top silicon photonics IP platform.”
By this collaboration, ST Microelectronics has been granted the rights to use Luxtera’s silicon photonics technology, which will be implemented into ST Microelectronics’ new photonics process and its future generations. In return, ST Microelectronics will provide Luxtera with a reliable, scalable, and cost-effective supply chain, allowing Luxtera to satisfy its growing market in terms of volume and quality requirements. Working together, the companies say they will bring silicon photonics into a new era, enabling it to become a cost-effective mainstream technology.
Greg Young, president and CEO of Luxtera, commented, “Luxtera has found a broad market opportunity for silicon photonics that requires an expanded supply chain and continued technology advancement. We can now offer our customers a high-volume, capable source of supply and an aggressive long-term photonic process technology roadmap.”
”This will advance our base technology and enable the integration of optical transceivers with SoCs from advanced CMOS nodes to deliver photonic-enabled SoCs for large scale systems. In turn, ST Microelectronics can now offer customers the world’s leading optical IP as the two companies expand the silicon photonics ecosystem.”
The new advanced 300mm silicon photonics platform being developed by ST Microelectronics will offer these benefits: scalability of low-cost transceivers for data rates of 100, 400Gbit/s and above; ultra-high-density interconnects with low power consumption; and support for 1310, 1490 and 1550nm wavelengths. The optimized silicon photonics process will be developed at ST Microelectronics’ Crolles technology center in France, where the company’s other major CMOS R&D programs, including the value-added derivative high-performance analog BiCMOS technologies, are running.
About the Author
Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org