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IIT Madras and SilTerra Malaysia team up on silicon photonics

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The Silicon Photonics Centre of Excellence at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is working with semiconductor foundry SilTerra Malaysia to enrich the latter’s PDK library for the production of programmable silicon photonic processor chips

The Silicon Photonics Centre of Excellence – Centre for Programmable Photonic Integrated Circuits and Systems (Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) is collaborating with SilTerra Malaysia to jointly develop programmable silicon photonic processor chips, particularly for quantum computing and communication system level applications.

Other key aspects of the partnership include joint R&D on novel silicon photonics devices and circuits for energy-efficient high-speed interconnect solutions for data centres, high-performance computing, and AI/ML applications.

SilTerra Malaysia is a global semiconductor foundry that has been continuously working to realise leading-edge semiconductor solutions through its silicon photonics process technologies. The Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS at IIT Madras was established in January 2021 with funding from the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MeitY), Government of India. The team at CoE-CPPICS say they are committed to enriching silicon photonics PDK libraries for SilTerra’s silicon photonics foundry for mutual benefits.

An MoU towards this collaboration has been signed recently by Manu Santhanam, professor at IIT Madras and Dean for Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, and by Albert Pang Shu Koon, CEO at SilTerra Malaysia. The MoU was also signed by Bijoy Krishna Das, Chief Investigator of the Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS and Thung Beng Joo, Vice President of Emerging Technologies at SilTerra Malaysia.

“This MoU signed between SilTerra and the Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS IIT Madras marks a significant milestone and opens up avenues for innovation in high-performance silicon photonics technology solutions,” said V. Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras. “With Bharat moving towards establishing state-of-the-art commercial semiconductor fabrication facilities, there is an imminent need to augment the same with research and human capacity development efforts. This engagement is expected to help achieve that objective on contemporary technologies.”

Highlighting the envisaged outcomes of this collaboration, Bijoy Krishna Das, who is also a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with SilTerra which will help us to accomplish our ambitious objectives and future roadmap of the CoE-CPPICS at IIT Madras.

“The matured silicon photonics process technology of SilTerra's 200 mm foundry will be accessed by the team CoE-CPPICS for its R&D programs while sharing its silicon photonics wafer-scale test facilities, device design, compact modelling, and circuit simulation expertise towards enriching silicon photonics PDK library for the fabrication of robust and advanced programmable photonic processor chips.

“Our students and research scholars will be benefitted through this long-term industry-academia research collaboration; they will be able to leverage this unique opportunity for IP generation and entrepreneurship. Moreover, this collaboration is going to contribute significantly to India's dream drive on National Semiconductor Mission and National Quantum Mission.”

Elaborating on the key aspects of this partnership, Albert Pang added: “We are honoured to be part of this alliance. From the onset, SilTerra has been working with its partners in the fields of microelectronics and digital technologies. For some time, we have been fabricating silicon photonics chips, and now, by moving forward with this strategic collaboration with IIT Madras, we are enriching our silicon photonic process and design kits. I believe quantum computing and systems will trigger a new era of applications and our collaborative efforts with CoE-CCPICS at IIT Madras will help accelerate the growth in this exciting field.”

Image: official press release

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