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Foundry-ready SiPho Process Integrates III-V Lasers

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Tower and Juniper announce first open market silicon photonics platform with monolithically integrated III-V lasers, modulators and detectors

Tower Semiconductor and Juniper Networks have announced the world's first silicon photonics (SiPho) foundry-ready process with integrated III-V lasers, amplifiers modulators and detectors. This integrated laser process addresses optical connectivity in datacentres and telecom networks, as well as new emerging applications in artificial intelligence (AI), LiDAR and other sensors. According to the market research firm Yole, the silicon photonics transceiver market for datacenters is expected to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 40% to reach over $5B in 2025.

The new 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.

“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”.

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