The road to a multi-billion Euro market in Integrated Photonics

Read the executive summary of the JePPIX ROADMAP 2015. The generic foundry approach is initiating a revolution in micro and nanophotonics, just as it did in microelectronics more than thirty years ago.

There is no doubt that generic integration causes a dramatic reduction in the entry costs when applying Photonic ICs in novel or improved products and brings them within reach for many SMEs and larger companies.

So far, most applications have been in the field of telecommunications and data communications, but presently they are becoming much broader; examples are fibre sensor readout units, gas sensors, medical diagnostics, metrology, THz and antenna systems.

The business case for many companies targeting Photonic ICs (PICs) in novel or improved products is a strong one. We also see a rapidly growing market for PIC designers. For foundries manufacturing generic PICs there will be an increasingly attractive business case as the market volume of PICs grows. However, in the start-up phase, which may last a few years, foundry operation will desirably be combined with other chip based products and services.

In the coming years we foresee a further increase in the performance and the maturity of the four JePPIX foundry platforms (provided by Oclaro, Fraunhofer HHI, SMART Photonics and LioniX), to a level where the technology will be extremely competitive with application-specific processes. The development of process capabilities and performance will be accompanied by the development of sophisticated, fab-calibrated, Process Design Kits which will provide the users with models and tools for accurate and efficient design of Photonic ICs. Standardized packages are also being developed within the JePPIX community. Access to a high performance package available at a reasonable cost is equally important for rapid prototyping and product development.

Through the application of the generic foundry model the entry costs for development of a PIC prototype are dramatically reduced, down to a level that is affordable for many SMEs and universities. It is shown that for developing prototypes, and also for low to medium volume manufacturing, InP PICs may be more cost effective than silicon photonics PICs, contrary to the widespread belief that InP technology is inherently much more expensive

The first generic PIC based products will become commercially available this year (2015). Based on the rapid development of industry participation in MPW runs we expect that the PIC enabled market will develop into a billion euro market before 2020.

The anticipated growth of the market will demand a rapidly growing number of PIC designs and hence designers. A more than tenfold increase of the present design capacity will be required within the next few years. Training and educational activities must, therefore, have high priority.

Very significant investments in photonic foundries have been announced recently in the US. For Europe to retain its competitive edge, continued public and private investment is important. Funding should focus on raising awareness of the opportunities that Photonic ICs offer for novel or improved products for a wide range of applications, increasing training and education capacity and creating proper conditions for enabling PIC foundries to provide the required manufacturing services.

JePPIX is playing a central role in the eco-system for foundry-based PIC development and manufacturing. Because of the large overlap in skills and tools for designing InP and TriPleX chips, and the increasing synergy between the two technologies in the field of packaging and hybrid platform technology, JePPIX is taking the role of brokering organisation for both InP and TriPleX technology.

Download the complete roadmap.

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