The US government has set up its latest manufacturing initiative, the sixth of nine, to advance photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The $610 million (€544 million) venture is a combination of public and private funding, $110 million (€98 million) from the Department of Defense, $250 million (€223 million) from the state of New York, and a similar amount from private contributions.
Dubbed the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), the venture has attracted 124 partners includes 20 universities and over 50 companies. The manufacturing innovation institute will be based in Rochester, New York, and will be led by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York. A key goal is that the manufacturing institute will continue after the initiative is completed in early 2021.
The venture will address the design, on-chip manufacturing, packaging and assembly of PICs. “We are at the point in photonics where we were in electronics when we still had transistors, resistors and capacitors,” said Duncan Moore, professor of optics at the University of Rochester. “What we are trying to do now is the equivalent of the electronics IC.”
The project started in July and the first six months will flesh out the details before request-for-proposals will be issued. An executive committee will determine which projects are funded and to what degree. Some projects will be funded for the full five years of the venture while others will be one-offs.
Companies backing the project include indium phosphide specialist Infinera as well as silicon photonics players Acacia Communications, Aurrion, and Intel. How the two technologies as well as Group IV photonics will be accommodated as part of the manufacturing initiative is still to be determined, said Moore. His expectation is that all will be investigated before a ‘shakeout’ will occur, likely in the venture’s fourth and fifth year.
A public document will be published around the turn of the year describing the project’s organisation.
See Also:The White House fact sheet