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EU to invest €15.5M into PIC packaging and assembly line

The European Union is investing €15.5 million into PIXAPP, a consortium that will establish what is thought to be world’s first open access photonic integrated circuit (PIC) assembly and packaging pilot line. The announcement was made to coincide with the Photonics21 annual general meeting, currently underway in Brussels.

The investment is designed to provide Europe with a state-of-the-art infrastructure that will support the industrial development and manufacture of PICs.

PIXAPP brings together a team of Europe’s industrial and research organisations to provide Europe’s small and medium enterprises with a one-stop-shop for photonics packaging and assembly technologies. The consortium will provide an easier route to take research results from laboratory to market, giving Europe’s businesses a competitive advantage over global competition.

Speaking from the Photonics21 event, Professor Peter O’Brien, PIXAPP pilot line director and head of photonics packaging research at Tyndall National Institute in Ireland, said: ‘The consortium involved in PIXAPP, led by Tyndall, has an unmatched record of excellence in delivering many world firsts in PICs. We will establish best-in-class PIC packaging technologies that are cost-effective and scalable to high-volume manufacture.’

The photonics market is expected to be worth more than €615 billion by 2020 and, with Europe’s share of the production technology market currently at 55 per cent, the European Union in partnership with the industry group Photonics21 has identified photonics as a key enabling technology critical for the future economic development of Europe.

The PIXAPP services will be offered through a single broker access point called the Pilot Line Gateway, located at Tyndall National Institute. The institute also plans to train and educate the photonics workforce of the future by creating a laboratory-based training programme.

Partners in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Czech Republic will each bring their own expertise to PIXAPP to provide an infrastructure that will help start-ups and smaller companies exploit the breakthrough advantages of photonic integration.

Jose Pozo, director of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), commented: ‘In the past, it has been very expensive to manufacture high volumes of PICs, and more expensive and challenging again to package them. This is creating a bottleneck for production, which is impacting the potential for growth in the photonics industry. I am confident that Tyndall National Institute’s leadership will deliver market success for Europe and drive our competitiveness across the communications, medical, automotive, energy, safety and defence sectors globally.’

This story originally appeared on sister publication electrooptics.com.

Image: Prof. Peter O’Brien, PIXAPP Pilot Line director and head of photonics packaging research at Tyndall National Institute.

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