Towards an end-to-end photonics ecosystem – Interview with Michael Liehr, AIM Photonics

Towards an end-to-end photonics ecosystem – Interview with Michael Liehr, AIM Photonics

Michael Liehr is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) of Integrated Photonics and the SUNY Poly Executive Vice President for Technology and Innovation

The American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics (AIM Photonics) installed by former U.S. President Obama, is a manufacturing consortium headquartered in NY, with funding from the US Department of Defense, New York State, California and Massachusetts, and industrial partners to advance the state of the art in the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of integrated photonic devices. “Our mission is to create a national institute supporting the end-to-end integrated photonics manufacturing ecosystem in the U.S. by expanding upon a highly successful public-private partnership model with open-access to world-class shared-use resources and capabilities.

Our emphasis is on overall reduction of manufacturing cost and design complexity to reduce the barrier to entry in this” says Michael Liehr. He focuses on the creation of new semiconductor and related industries business opportunities, and is responsible for the effective and efficient operation of the SUNY Poly industrial programs including SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s strategic 300mm advanced CMOS line, integrated photonic semiconductor and 3D packaging and the 150mm SiC power electronics.

The American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics (AIM Photonics), a member of Manufacturing USA, is a manufacturing consortium headquartered in New York to advance the state of the art in the design of photonics. The scope of AIM Photonics spans several industry segments, with the most prominent and near term commercial segment of Datacom applications, to analog/RF, array and sensor applications that are expected to mature in the next few years. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) technology enables optical systems to be miniaturized and fabricated on semiconductor chips. Just as electronic integrated circuits revolutionized electronics by miniaturizing transistor circuitry, PICs integrate lasers and other optical devices to route and process information with reduced size and power. PICs can also scale in complexity to do things that would not be possible using conventional optical design approaches. By putting these components on a single platform, PICs have the potential to advance technology in ways never before possible.

“In the first two years of operation, the institute has focused most of its resource to develop an infrastructure in electronic-photonic design automation, a multi project wafer offering, as well as test, assembly and packaging. These efforts are aimed at supporting not only larger companies, but also Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs), universities and federal agency needs. Obviously, our emphasis is on the U.S. ecosystem, but we welcome non-U.S. entities, such as SMEs from the Netherlands,” according to Liehr. To make this possible AIM is developing a Process Design Kit (PDK) and a Component Library, which is expected to be used primarily by SMEs. AIM Photonics has released its third version of the PDK and expects to have it fully qualified in 2018.

Liehr believes AIMs collaborative approach will put in place an end-to-end photonics “ecosystem” that includes domestic foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and testing, and workforce development, plus create a standardized platform to make it easier to scale the technology across multiple markets for companies of all sizes.

AIM Photonics uses the extensive 300 mm state-of-the-art equipment set in SUNY Poly Albany and is establishing a Test, Assembly and Packaging operation in Rochester, NY, during 2018. AIM welcomes customers to access the capabilities in a variety of access models, including a Multi-Project-Wafer (MPW) low-cost-of-entry program, customized and IP protected development, or early production support for limited volumes with or without ITAR protection and ISO certification.

Liehr concludes: “Integrated Photonics is a world-wide opportunity. All parties involved in photonics participate in road mapping activity orchestrated by AIM Academy. Our collective goal is to have the general public use photonics on a daily basis in the future.”

Michael Liehr will speak at the Photonic Integration Conference on September 26, 2017, at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, The Netherlands. For more information and registration to the Photonic Integration Conference, we invite you to visit the conference website.

The interview was made by Jakajima, the organiser of the conference. For more interviews with speakers at Jakajima conferences, we invite you to visit Jakajima’s website.

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