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Jul 27th, 2012
Imec puts silicon photonics on 300 mm wafers
Demonstration of functional components brings Si photonics closer to CMOS standards.
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Imec has successfully demonstrated the creation of functional sub-100 nm photonics components on 300 mm silicon wafers with optical lithography, in what the organization believes is a world first. Announced at Semicon West in San Francisco, the news could represent an important step towards bringing silicon photonics technology into line with CMOS industry standards.

The breakthrough comes out of imec's industrial affiliation program on optical I/O, in which the Belgian research hub is working with a number of key players is the development of Si photonics processes, devices and circuits, using state-of-the-art CMOS fabrication processes. Many nanophotonics components have previously only been demonstrated using lab-scale techniques such as e-beam lithography, but imec's announcement relates to the successful demonstration of functional devices on industry-compatible 300 mm wafers using 193 nm immersion lithography and 28 nm CMOS processes. This could represent a route for Si photonics to move closer to adoption by the wider CMOS sector.

"It's definitely great to see these photonics processes being moved up to 300 mm," commented Michael Hochberg, a founder of Luxtera who now heads the OpSIS wafer center. "This will be important as silicon photonics starts to be used for very high volume applications. The data they are generating is going to be very valuable to the community in understanding the trade-offs between mask cost, wafer cost, volume production costs, and photonic device performance."

Imec itself is equally bullish about the significance of the demonstration. "Possible applications include next-generation short-reach interconnects, which we expect to go into manufacturing by 2015," said Philippe Absil, director of the optical I/O program at imec.

To read more: http://optics.org/news/3/7/33



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