GCS, Intengent, VLC To Offer Photonic Integrated Circuit Productions
Semiconductor wafer fabrication foundry Global Communication Semiconductors LLC (GCS), III-V photonic consultant Intengent, and photonic integrated circuit designer VLC Photonics SL will jointly offer fabless development into production services for customized photonic integrated circuits (PICs) in indium phosphide (InP).
GCS provides a broad range of wafer foundry services based on a proprietary regrowth-free InP process. Originally developed as a state-of-the-art opto and heterojunction-bipolar-transistor processes, it also allows for prototyping and volume-scalable production of PICs. The key enabler is a photonic integration platform that is compatible with the foundry's regrowth-free process and yet suitable for a variety of applications.
"Our well-established processes have great synergies with the TAVI [Taper Assisted Vertical Integration] PIC platform," said Brian Ann, CEO of GCS. "Our 4- or 6-in. wafer capability, based on a commercially supplied one-step-growth epitaxy, creates a unique opportunity for InP PICs. We believe that the GCS-Intengent-VLC partnership can fully utilize this opportunity and generate significant PIC business in various markets. By leveraging the infrastructure and expertise that we have gained in high-volume RF [radio frequency] and optoelectronics markets, this partnership offers time- and cost-efficient PIC development into production."
Intengent has developed TAVI, which is regrowth-free and based on the GCS process, enabling decoupling of epitaxial growth and wafer fabrication. TAVI covers many PIC applications, including those in growing and emerging markets, such as optical interconnects and switching markets. It also offers complementary solutions to silicon photonics.
"GCS is an advanced III-V foundry with a high InP wafer throughout both in [radio frequency] electronics and optoelectronics markets," said Valery Tolstikhin, CEO of Intengent. "The TAVI platform takes advantage of GCS' process maturity and extends it to PICs in InP. To make the technology suitable for a fabless PIC development, one more thing is needed: the PDK [process design kit]. This is where VLC comes in, bringing a wealth of experience in PIC design and characterization. The fabrication process, the integration platform and the PDK together make a versatile generic platform for PICs in InP that allows the end users to access the commercial-grade technology under the fabless model."
In a three-way partnership with GCS and VLC, Intengent is working toward making TAVI a generic platform while preserving its flexibility and openness to PIC customization. VLC Photonics is a renowned expert in generic photonic integration platforms and, as a fabless and independent design house for PICs, has been developing design libraries and PDKs for different foundry platforms and customers. A PDK for the TAVI platform drastically reduces the PIC design effort and risk by shifting the focus toward circuit level simulations. The evolving PDK is based on a number of verified active and passive building blocks, and is already used in commercial PIC designs carried out by the partnership.
"Joining with Intengent and GCS for commercialization of the TAVI platform in a large-scale photonic foundry was a challenging but exciting experience," said Iñigo Artundo, CEO of VLC. "VLC has a solid approach to working with foundries, [electronic design automation] partners and customers on PDK development based on its commercial and proprietary design tools, characterization techniques and in-house test and measurement capabilities. We are positive that TAVI implemented over the GCS process has a great potential as a generic platform for PICs in InP, enabling for both customization and volume scalability in an environment of industrial-grade wafer fabrication.