Photonics platform from foundry Tower Semiconductor enables next-generation optical communications for telecoms and datacentre as well as AI and LiDAR
Tower Semiconductor in Israel is offering the world’s first open silicon photonics (SiPho) foundry-ready process with integrated III-V lasers, amplifiers, modulators and detectors.
The platform was developed with networking giant Juniper Networks for optical connectivity in datacentres and telecom networks, as well as new emerging applications in artificial intelligence (AI), LiDAR and other sensors for driverless cars.
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The platform co-integrates III-V lasers, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA), electro-absorption modulators (EAM) and photodetectors with silicon photonics devices, all monolithically on a single chip. This enables smaller, higher-channel count and more power-efficient optical architectures and solutions. Foundry availability will enable a broad array of product developers to create highly integrated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for diverse markets.
Process design kits (PDK) are expected to be available by year end and the first open multi-project wafer (MPW) run are expected to be offered early next year. First samples of full 400Gb/s and 800Gb/s PICs reference designs with integrated laser are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2022.
According to the market research firm Yole, the silicon photonics transceiver market for datacenters is expected to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 40 percent to reach over $5bn in 2025.
“Our mutual development work with Tower has been extraordinarily successful in qualifying this innovative silicon photonics technology in a high-volume manufacturing facility,” said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks. “By offering this capability to the entire industry, Juniper offers the potential to radically reduce the cost of optics while lowering the barrier to entry for customers”.
“Our partnership with Juniper on silicon photonics is bringing a paradigm shift for product development across our industry,” said Russell Ellwanger, CEO of Tower Semiconductor. “It is now possible to mix the advantages of III-V semiconductors with high-volume silicon photonics manufacturing. Being the singular open market, integrated laser silicon photonics platform, and having a multi-year advantage over any potential foundry competitor, we are jointly creating breakthrough products with truly unique value for our industry and for society as a whole.”
Juniper is using the OptoCompiler platform from Synopsys, including the OptSim and PrimeSim HSPICE simulation tools, to accelerate the development of photonic chips. Juniper plans to use Synopsys solutions to design and optimize its hybrid silicon and InP optical platform to enable its customers to address optical connectivity in data centres and telecom networks.
The OptoCompiler design platform is the industry’s first unified electronic and photonic design platform, combining mature and dedicated photonic technology with custom tools to enable engineers to produce and verify complex photonic IC designs quickly and accurately.
“Synopsys offers a unique, unified photonic and electronic design suite, which accelerates customer design cycles and time-to-market,” said Tom Mader, head of Silicon Photonics at Juniper Networks. “This will enable Juniper silicon photonics to bring our revolutionary hybrid integrated laser platform to a broad array of customers in several photonic market segments, with the potential to lower cost and eliminate product barriers to entry.”
With its interactive design cockpit, the OptoCompiler platform helps shorten turnaround times and reduce risk of human error. It provides a schematic-driven layout flow with photonic-aware layout synthesis and automated features, such as assisted waveguide routing and auto-alignment of photonic circuits.
The OptSim solution brings together Synopsys’ photonic system and circuit simulation capabilities and provides electro-optical (E/O) co-simulation with the Synopsys PrimeSim HSPICE Simulator, the industry’s ‘gold standard’ for accurate circuit simulation and the cornerstone of the Synopsys PrimeSim Continuum Solution. It also integrates with the Synopsys PrimeWave design environment, the simulation and analysis environment of the OptoCompiler platform. The OptSim solution comes with an extensive photonic model library and is enabled for a wide variety of photonic IC foundries.
“Demand for higher bandwidth in intra-data center communications is driving companies like Juniper to deploy silicon photonic solutions to achieve the next level in performance,” said Aveek Sarkar, VP of Customer Success for Analog Mixed-Signal/Custom & Photonics at Synopsys.
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