Tower Semiconductor, a developer of high-value analog semiconductor foundry solutions, is participating in the Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) program, with partial support from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (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 will be coordinated with the new process, when ready. The initial versions of the 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 wave guides, Mach-Zehnder modulators and germanium 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 LUMOS program, which aims to bring high-performance lasers to advanced photonics platforms, addressing commercial and defense applications.