Heterogeneous InP on Silicon Technology for Optical Routing and Logic - Perfect silicon solutions

Area of relevance: 
Information and Communication
1 July 2008 - 30 June 2011
imec-Ghent University (Belgium), CNRS-LPN (France), Technical University Eindhoven (the Netherlands), IBM Zurich Research Laboratory (Switzerland)
Funded by: 
European Commission, EU


HISTORIC focuses on digital photonic integrated circuits containing active and passive photonic elements for all-optical packet switching. The building blocks are ultra-compact gates based on micro-disk lasers and photonic crystal lasers, fabricated using heterogeneous integration of InP membranes on top of silicon on insulator (SOI) passive optical circuits. We use high precision growth and processing techniques available to the InP platform, and take advantage of the extreme accuracy of CMOS processing. Several all-optical flip-flops and gates are integrated on a single chip, and are interconnected by short SOI waveguides. The extreme dimensions of the flip-flops, gates and their interconnections result in competitive footprint, speed and power consumption. The ultra small dimensions of the all-optical flip-flops result in record low switching times (< 60 ps) and switching energies (< 2 fJ). The unique features of the lasers can also be exploited for other optical signal processing, e.g. wavelength conversion for contention resolution. The possibility of integrating a large number of photonic digital units opens new perspectives for all-optical signal processing and optical buffers. The project therefore also focuses on designing relevant new optical switching and routing architectures. System tests will demonstrate the advantage of the new optical approach for processing and buffering over the conventional electronic approach.