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Tower Semiconductor, a leader in high-value analog semiconductor foundry solutions, announced that it is participating in the LUMOS program, with partial support from DARPA, to create a semiconductor foundry integrated-laser-on-silicon photonics process. This process will combine high-performance III-V laser diodes with Tower’s PH18 production silicon photonics platform. Multi-project wafer runs (MPW) will be coordinated with the new process, when ready. The initial versions of the PDK (process development kit) are expected in 2021 and will include laser and amplifier blocks.
The benefits of laser integration on silicon include an increase in the density of lasers, a reduction of coupling losses between the laser and the photonics, a reduction in components required, and a much-simplified packaging scheme. When combined with Tower’s rich suite of passive and active silicon photonics elements -- such as silicon and silicon-nitride waveguides, Mach-Zehnder modulators (MZM), and Ge photodiodes -- the co-integration will enable new products unavailable today from a volume semiconductor or photonics foundry.
The advanced process will be part of DARPA’s Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) program, which aims to bring high-performance lasers to advanced photonics platforms, addressing commercial and defense applications.