Optics 101

Photonic Integrated Circuit - What is a Photonic Integrated Circuit?

A photonic integrated circuit or commonly abbreviated to as PIC is in theory very similar to an electronic integrated circuit. Unlike an electronic integrated circuit, a photonic integrated circuit incorporates numerous optical components such as optical amplifiers, lasers, attenuators, detectors, multiplexers and de-multiplexers. Large-scale photonic integrated circuits allows the integrations of dozens or more individual optical components into a single device.

Both hybrid and monolithic integrations are types of photonic integrations. Hybrid photonic integrated circuits bring together single function optical devices into a single package. Hybrid integrations are used today to join numerous integrated photonic devices.

On the other hand, monolithic integration joins many devices into a single photonic material. The production of monolithic photonic integrated circuits involves the construction of devices into a common substrate. This allows all photonic couplings to occur within the substrate and all functions are emerged into a single and physically exceptional device.

Wafer-scale technology is generally used for the production of photonic integrated circuits on substrates or chips of silica, silicon or lithium niobate. The primary applications of photonic integrated crystals are in the areas of optical fiber communications, and in particular fiber-optic networks. Photonic integrated circuits may also be used in optical sensors and metrology.

Photonic integrated circuits are in the early stages of research and development. The impact of photonic integration on the telecommunications industry can be as important as that of electronic integration. The future of photonic integrated circuits development could lead to even more advanced packages and the integration of electronics and optics.

Source: AZoOptics

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