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Silicon Photonics

Silicon photonics

Si photonics is a rapidly growing technology area where VTT offers design, fabrication, packaging and testing services from R&D to production. With our micron-scale silicon waveguides it is possible to integrate advanced optical functions and systems on a tiny chip. Applications reach from communication to sensing, and the unique combination of benefits includes low losses, ultra-wide bandwidth, extremely dense integration and scalability to low-cost mass production. Let us help you to increase the level of photonics integration in your application!

Photonic integrated circuits with micron-scale waveguides

VTT patterns optical waveguides into a 3 µm thick silicon-on-insulator (SOI) layer. Light remains extremely well-confined inside the micron-scale Si waveguides, which leads to low propagation losses, small polarization dependency and relaxed fabrication tolerances. This is very beneficial in realizing advanced photonic integrated circuits (PICs). By combining rib and strip-shaped waveguides it is possible to achieve single-mode (SM) operation over an ultra-wide wavelength range (like 1.2-3 µm) while integrating optics into an extremely small footprint with bending radius down to a few micrometers. VTT is now complementing its passive 3 µm waveguide platform with high-speed active components and with a low-loss coupling interface to standard SM fibers.

From research and prototyping to volume production

VTT uses the Micronova clean room facility for processing PICs on commercial SOI wafers (150 mm / 6"). For customers around the world we offer the low-cost option to join our multi-project wafer (MPW) runs, as well as dedicated processing runs and strategic partnerships for product development. Those who want to commercialize their Si photonic products can obtain contract manufacturing services from VTT Memsfab Ltd (in the same facility). We can do the design for you or you can do your own design using our process design kits (PDKs) that are supported by the commercial PhoeniX and IPKISS design tools. VTT also offers packaging and testing services for the fabricated silicon photonic chips. You can also benefit from our extensive network of R&D partners around the world for subcontracting, hybrid integration of III-V optoelectronics, funding opportunities etc.

Applications range from sensing and imaging to optical communication

VTT’s silicon photonics technology is a generic platform that can be used in numerous applications from communication to sensing and imaging. You can find it useful whether you are doing fundamental research in quantum optics or planning to produce optical transceivers in high-volumes. Optical switches, tunable wavelength filters, wavelength (de)multiplexers and modulators are just some of the basic components that you can get miniaturized and combined into advanced optical systems on a chip. An example from applying Si photonics for medical imaging is described in one of VTT’s customer references.