Semiconductor Equipment

GlobalFoundries unveils new silicon photonics platform

08 March 2022

Pure play foundry GlobalFoundries Inc. (GF) has introduced a new silicon photonics manufacturing process designed for data center solutions.

GF is collaborating with semiconductor players Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Marvell and Nvidia as well as photonic companies Ayar Labs, Lightmatter, PsiQuantum, Ranovus and Xanadu for the photonics platform.

According to GF, with more than 42 billion connected internet of things (IoT) devices in circulation, the rise of power consumption in data centers is driving the need for faster and more energy efficient designs.

Because of this, GF has introduced its Fotonix platform for silicon photonics designs. Additionally, the partnership with Cisco will provide custom silicon photonics solutions for DCN and DCI applications including a process design kit (PDK).

Fotonix is a monolithic platform that combines GF’s differentiated 300 mm photonics features and 300 GHz-class RF-CMOS on a silicon wafer. Fotonix consolidates complete processes that were previously distributed across multiple chips by combining a photonic system, radio frequency components and CMOS onto a single silicon chip.

The 300 mm monolithic silicon photonics solution uses high data rate per fiber (0.5 Tbps/fiber) to enable 1.6-3.2 Tbps optical chiplets for more efficient transmission of data and better signal integrity. The process also offers up to 10,000 times improvement in system error rate for next generation artificial intelligence.

The process will be manufactured at GF’s Malta, New York, facility with the PDK 1.0 available in April. EDA partners Ansys, Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys will provide design tools and flows to support future solutions. The solution will also feature new packaging solutions such as the passive attachment for larger five arrays, support for 2.5D packaging and on-die lasers.

For discrete RF solutions for optical systems, GF will add new silicon germanium (SiGE) solutions for speed and bandwidth required to transport information through next generation fiber optic high speed networks.

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