GigOptix-Helix AG, subsidiary of Palo Alto, CA based GigOptix Inc. (OTCBB: GGOX), a fabless semiconductor company, that provides electronic engines for the optically connected digital world and other advanced radio frequency (RF) applications today announced that they will participate in the European Union funded project Silicon-Organic Hybrid Fabrication Platform for Integrated Circuits (“SOFI”).
The company’s unique electro-optic polymer which is being used in SOFI, as well as other research projects by leading semiconductor manufacturers, allows new structures to be created on-chip to overcome the inherent speed limitation of silicon. This will enable a new era of ultra fast hybrid silicon-organic integrated circuits. The company will receive close to $500K funding for the project.
The rapid growth of the Internet requires continuous upgrade of the underlying equipment to keep pace with bandwidth demand and simultaneously, due to economic and environmental pressures, the energy has to be minimized. The semiconductor and optics industries have been advancing technology to solve the challenges of a modern communications infrastructure for decades. The SOFI project aims to unite the potential of semiconductor and optics technology to generate a step function in performance needed for the systems and networks of tomorrow. It will create fundamental new technology to enable ultra fast integrated circuits with on board optical modulators combining silicon and organic polymer materials.
The project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. J. Leuthold from the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. “We are confident that we will succeed in making a difference by designing and implementing ultra-fast ultra-low energy consuming modulators,” commented Prof. Dr. J. Leuthold. “This project benefits from years of preparation on the underlying idea, but most importantly, the consortium combines a high level of expertise that is bound to succeed.”
“We are committed to driving product innovation which addresses the speed and power challenges of the communication industry,” added Jörg Wieland, General Manger of GigOptix-Helix AG. “We are looking forward to working together with this illustrious team in applying our electro-optic polymers to create fundamental new technology which can have a significant impact on the future of electronics.”
“This is the first time silicon photonics and EO polymer technologies have been combined with such promising results,” stated Dr. Raluca Dinu, General Manager of GigOptix modulator business. “It is another indicator of the flexibility and importance of the materials we have created.”
Optical waveguides will be implemented in silicon and complemented by GigOptix’ electro-optic polymer layer that enables new functionalities not available in silicon. The dimensions of silicon waveguides which are filled with EO polymer material are so small that the created chips consume very little power and have very small footprint. Experiments have indicated that such a technology could boost the signal processing speed of the chips far beyond 100 Gbit/s - which corresponds to a tripling of the state-of-the art bitrate while also allowing for the lowest power consumption so far demonstrated for devices in its class. It is envisaged that this fundamental technology may also find applications in the field of environmental sensing by detecting changes in the refractive index of the EO polymer caused by contaminants.
The other partners in the project include, The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) of Germany, SELEX Sistemi Integrati of Italy, IMEC, Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre of Belgium, Rainbow Photonic AG, of Switzerland, Research and Education Laboratory in Information Technologies of Greece, and The University of Sydney, Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems, Australia.