PORTLAND, Ore.Electro-optic-polymer-filled silicon waveguides could propagate optical signals on CMOS chips at up to 100 GHz, according to GigOptix-Helix AG, a subsidiary of GigOptix Inc. The company Wednesday (March 10) announced a $500,000 contract to prove the concept for a European Union project called the Silicon-Organic Hybrid Fabrication Platform for Integrated Circuits (SOFI).
The SOFI program is funding seven research teams from four countries for three years. Each SOFI research team will be focusing on fabricating photonic modulators using optical waveguides on CMOS chips that harness the Pockels effect. The Pockels effect changes the refractive index of a material as a function of the strength of an applied electric field, and has already been demonstrated to modulate light in lithium niobate. The SOFI project will attempt to implement the electro-optical effect for polymer-filled waveguides on CMOS chips.
The EU is supplying $5 million over three years for the SOFI project, which is due to deliver working silicon modulator prototypes in three years. GigOptix-Helix's will contribute by fabricating its unique electro-optic polymer into SOFI-designed structures created on silicon chips, aiming at ultra-fast hybrid silicon-organic integrated circuits.
In addition to GigOptix-Helix, the other SOFI teams are from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, SELEX Sistemi Integrati, Italy, IMEC, Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre, Belgium, and Rainbow Photonic AG, Switzerland, the Research and Education Laboratory in Information Technologies, Greece, and The University of Sydney's Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems, Australia.