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Huawei partners with imec, extending European presence

04 Dec 2014

Strategic partnership focusing on high-bandwidth optical data link technology.

Nanoelectronics research center imec and global ICT player Huawei have taken a further step in their strategic partnership focusing on optical data link technology. Their joint research into silicon-based optical interconnects is expected to deliver benefits including high speed, low power consumption and cost savings.

Silicon photonics is a key enabling technology expected to revolutionize optical communications by paving the way for the creation of highly integrated, low power optical transceivers used for data transmission and telecommunications.

Silicon optical interconnects

A joint statement from the companies said that Huawei has now joined imec’s research program, which focuses on optimising bandwidth density, power consumption, thermal robustness and cost at the system level. Huawei engineers will work closely with imec’s R&D team in Leuven, Belgium, with a view to achieving technological progress in this vital area for delivering connectivity matching the needs of the Europe of tomorrow.

In 2013, Huawei acquired photonics company Caliopa, a spin-off from imec and Ghent University, thereby adding silicon photonics research to its European R&D portfolio. Delivering on its commitment of boosting Caliopa’s development, Huawei said it has been investing in its human resources and infrastructure, prompting it to move offices to keep step with its rapid growth.

Luc Van den Hove, president and CEO at imec, said, “This is an important next step in our collaboration with Huawei on silicon photonics. This collaboration, together with Huawei’s recent acquisition of Caliopa, which is developing silicon photonics-based optical transceivers for the telecommunications industry, shows that our silicon photonics research is important for advancing next-generation high-bandwidth ICT solutions. We expect this partnership to give a further boost to our silicon photonics research over the coming years."

Hudson Liu, CEO at Huawei Belgium, added, “Having acquired cutting-edge expertise in the field of silicon photonics, this new partnership with imec is the logical next step towards next-generation optical communication. Imec’s role as a global leader in the field of silicon electronics, combined with Caliopa’s expertise in this field – leveraged by Huawei’s global reach – make this new partnership a strategic advantage for all sides.”

Pan-European ambition

Huawei said the collaboration further deepens its engagement with the European research ecosystem in pursuit of its strategy to build a better-connected Europe by investing in local talent. The announcement follows the recent purchase of Internet of Things pioneering company Neul in the UK, the launch of an innovation centre in Walldorf, Germany, and the opening of an R&D site in Sophia Antipolis, France.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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