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Infinera lands $14M CHIPS Act grant

22 Nov 2023

Manufacturer of photonic integrated circuits gets help expanding its Silicon Valley sites.

Infinera, the Californian producer of optical communications hardware based around its own photonic integrated circuits (PICs), has been awarded a $14 million grant that will assist a wider investment in its Silicon Valley operations.

Funded via the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act and awarded through California’s own incentives program, the money is intended to help Infinera’s continued development of indium phosphide (InP) photonics.

Headquartered in San Jose, the company also has a development and manufacturing site in nearby Sunnyvale, as well as a facility in Pennsylvania, alongside multiple international locations.

“This is a first step to expand and modernize Infinera’s US-based domestic production of next-generation semiconductors and continue to support innovation and economic development in the United States in future years,” announced the firm.

CEO David Heard added: “Since our founding, we chose to keep our optical compound semiconductor fab and advanced packaging operations in the US. We remain committed to leveraging our unique expertise, talent, and capabilities to support the goals of US federal and state initiatives focused on economic development and national security.”

Set to be awarded in chunks over the next five years, the grant will complement Infinera’s wider investment of around $180 million, which is expected to create an additional 235 jobs in the state.

$3BN for advanced packaging
Meanwhile, the US is set to invest a further $3 billion in advanced packaging technologies, with some of that funding going towards photonics.

Called the “National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program” (NAPMP), the scheme is set to include include an advanced packaging piloting facility for validating and transitioning new technologies to US manufacturers, alongside workforce training programs and specific project funding.

The term “advanced packaging” is defined as referring to many chips with diverse functions assembled tightly together on a substrate in two or three dimensions at extremely fine dimensions (sic).

“This method achieves function, performance, and power savings far greater than can be achieved with conventionally packaged chips on a printed circuit board,” stated an announcement of NAPMP by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “Recent advances in artificial intelligence, for example, would not be possible without advanced packaging.”

Photonics is listed as one of six priority research investment areas, with others including materials and substrates; equipment, tools, and processes; power delivery and thermal management for advanced packaging assemblies; a chiplet ecosystem; and co-design of multi-chiplet systems with automated tools.

According to a vision paper published November 20, low error rate photonics and high-density, high-speed, and low-loss active connectors will be needed to manage long-haul communications and will require novel and compact solutions.

“The focus will be on reliable and manufacturable integrated connectors that include computational capability, data pre-processing, security, and ease of installation to the packaged assembly,” it says.

An initial funding opportunity for the NAPMP program is expected in early 2024, and will be focused on efforts related to materials and substrates.

Universe Kogaku America Inc.Schaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.LaCroix Precision OpticsOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHIridian Spectral TechnologiesJenLab GmbH
© 2024 SPIE Europe
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