Imec and CST Global join forces on hybrid integrated InP light sources

March 04, 2020 //By Julien Happich
InP light sources
Imec and CST Global announced they have successfully integrated InP distributed feedback (DFB) lasers from CST Global’s InP100 platform into imec’s integrated silicon photonics platform (iSiPP).

Interfaces for hybrid integration of InP DFB lasers and reflective semiconductor optical amplifiers (RSOA) will become available as part of imec’s silicon photonics prototyping services in the first half of 2021, following further optimization and qualification work in 2020.

This joint imec-CST Global technology offering is expected to boost the adoption of silicon photonics in cost-sensitive applications, including optical interconnects, sensing, computing and beyond.

Microscope image of an InP DFB laser assembled on a Si
Photonics chip.

Silicon photonics (SiPho) technology has made great progress over the past decades and is used extensively in a variety of applications – from fiber-optic communications to sensing. Technology platforms have evolved into mature vehicles and are available to industry and academia for prototyping, low-volume and higher-volume manufacturing. But a widely available, cost-effective solution to integrate light sources in SiPho chips has been missing, hampering the adoption of SiPho in cost-sensitive markets. Silicon itself does not emit light efficiently, so light sources made of III-V semiconductors, such as indium-phosphide (InP) or gallium-arsenide (GaAs), are typically implemented as separately packaged components. Such external light sources typically suffer from higher coupling loss; a large physical form factor; and a substantial packaging cost.

Scanning electron-microscope image of an InP DFB laser
assembled on a Si Photonics chip.

Imec has recently joined forces with CST Global to extend imec’s SiPho technology portfolio with passively assembled, edge-emitting, InP DFB lasers and InP RSOAs. This collaboration, which started in 2019, has now resulted in the first successful assemblies of C-band (1530-1565nm) InP DFB lasers onto imec’s iSiPP platform.

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