X-FAB to lead high-volume photonics manufacturing project

Created July 4, 2023
Technologies and Products

Foundry group X-FAB is heading up the photonixFAB project consortium, which aims to empower photonics innovation by SMEs and large entities by providing low barrier access to both low-loss silicon nitride (SiN) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) based photonics platforms with indium phosphide (InP) and lithium niobate (LNO) heterogenous integration capabilities. The objective is to establish a European photonics device value chain and initial industrial manufacturing capabilities, thereby providing a path to scalable high-volume manufacturing for innovative product developers.

  • A comprehensive set of photonics foundry and assembly capabilities will be covered by photonixFAB,  including:
  • Industry-scale silicon photonics manufacturing services with low entry barriers and fast turnaround times for both low-loss SiN and SOI based PICs.
  • Enablement of microtransfer printing and direct bonding technologies for InP, LNO and germanium based active and passive component heterogeneous integration on SiN and SOI based PIC platforms.
  • Development of scalable packaging and testing solutions in alignment with the (heterogeneous) PIC platform developments.
  • Process design kit-based design automation enablement for the photonic platforms.

As a part of the project, six demonstrators are being built to validate the implemented photonics value chains. These include applications such as datacom and optical switches, coherent optical transceiver, IR spectrometer for sensing, digital olfaction sensor for consumer healthcare and a health monitoring demonstrator.

X-FAB says a multitude of prospective opportunities for the cutting-edge photonic devices fabricated via the photonixFAB project have already been identified. Among them are data communication, telecoms, biomedical sensors/detectors, quantum computing and vehicle LiDAR.

“Seeing huge potential emerging there, traditional semiconductor vendors, OEMs and start-ups are all now exploring photonic-enabled applications,” states Rudi De Winter, CEO of X-FAB. “Consequently, this is the right time for companies to work together on building an extensive Europe-centric silicon photonics ecosystem that will help drive the continent’s competitiveness in this exciting new market.”

The project is being supported by the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking (KDT JU), with funding from EU and the national authorities. The combination of this funding and the investments being directly made by each of the consortium members comes to a total of Euro 47.6 million.  A major part of the work of this three and a half year project will be conducted at X-FAB’s foundry operation in Corbeil-Essonnes, France, with additional activities also undertaken at the numerous other partners’ sites across Europe.

For more information, visit www.xfab.com


This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.