When applying integration to your custom optical system, we will be developing what is called an Application-Specific Photonic Integrated Circuit (ASPIC).
Photonic chip design does not start with technology but is firstly based on customer specifications. Specifications on the function that the ASPIC should deliver into your product. Once these requirements are clear, the next step is to evaluate the most appropriate integration technology that could deliver the required functionality. Any optical system is composed of multiple building blocks, and it is here that technology comes into play: what specific material platform can be best used to implement the required components?
In this aspect VLC Photonics is technology independent, we will realize your ASPIC in the best suitable technology according to your needs. Therefore, we are not limited to a monolithical system with a single base material, being able to design in the main current material platforms: III-V compounds and Silicon Photonics (InP, SOI, SiO2, Si3N4, etc.). From a customer point-of-view, all this is transparent to your application.
The Silicon Photonics technology platform offers passive light manipulation at a very small footprint, allowed by the relative high contrast index of silicon. Such small chip size, its cheaper base material and its CMOS fabrication compatibility also results in a lower chip price. However, no light amplification is possible at the time, meaning that integration with other technologies will be required for some active functionalities. The main semiconductor materials for this platform are:
Thin (220-300 nm) Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI)
Thick (2-4 um) Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI)
The III-V Materials technology platform offers light amplification and detection, next to passive light manipulation as filtering, splitting or interfering. In the past 20 years, this technology has been widely used by chip manufacturers to make lasers, modulators and detectors, usually based on one epitaxial growth step. In the last five years, manufacturing technology has evolved to allow for a second or even a third epitaxial growth layer that allows for lower losses, more advanced passive components and electro-optical phase shifters. The main materials for this platform are:
The Dielectrics technology platform offers passive light manipulation with very low transmission and fiber coupling losses, given the refractive index match of Silica. However, due to the low refractive index contrast, chip size is not as compact as in other technology platforms. Also referred as Planar Lightwave Technology (PLC), it became very popular in the early 2000’s, allowing for a large cost reduction because of mass production of splitters and AWGs. The main materials for this platform are:
Silicon Dioxide or Silica (SiO2)
Silicon Nitride (Si3N4/SiN) or TriPleXTM, for higher mode confinement and smaller chip size.
Silicon Oxinitride (SiON)
Here you will find photonic integration tutorials and technical whitepapers from VLC Photonics, available online or for direct download.
How to Integrate optical system on chip
Step-by-step process on how to integrate an optical system into a single photonic chip.
Towards fabless photonic integration
Generic photonic integration Foundry/Design house Business model Foundry examples Foundries table Examples of VLC Photonics PICs
Improve your optical system with PIC
What is photonic integration How PICs are fabricated Examples of components and integrated photonic chips VLC Photonics way of working
Photonic Integration: step-by-step guide
PIC Magazine, Vol. 1-1 (June 2016)
Best Achievement in PIC Develompment 2019
PIC Magazine (2019)
3D Optical systems and Photonic integration for LIDAR
Blossoming photonic foundries
Electro Optics, business (Jun’2013)
Challenges in photonic integration business
Electro Optics, business (Oct’2016)
TECHNIK + TRENDS Interview
Elektronik, pp. 26-27 (Mar’2014)
Basic building blocks for commercial applications
Optik&Photonik 8(2), pp. 52-55 (Jun’2013)
VLC Photonics videos
Visit our YouTube channel where we have introduction videos, webinars, products, presentations and more. Don't miss any of our news or updates and follow us on social networks as well. We update our followers regulary on Twitter and LinkedIn!
Fabless operation in photonic integration - Iñigo Artundo
VLC Photonics Applications Showcase Video
VLC Photonics S.L. constitution
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