VLC Photonics simplifies photonic chip design

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Optical design house VLC Photonics has launched what it describes a ‘standard design service’ for companies developing photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The company will offer fixed prices that are determined by the chip area alone, independently of the chip’s desired functionality.

The holy grail of photonic integration is to make it as straightforward to design PICs as it is to design integrated circuits in the electronic industry. A service that offers instant prices without the need to manually calculate the effort to produce the design will go some way towards achieving that goal.

The standard service provides an easy-to-use online tool that allows companies to access multiple integration platforms quickly – a new concept in the optical industry, according to Iñigo Artundo, CEO of VLC Photonics.

VLC Photonics offers design services for all the main materials platforms, including planar lightwave circuits on silica, silicon-on-insulator (SOI), indium phosphide (InP), silicon nitride (SiN)/TripleX, and gallium arsenide (GaAs). The design house then coordinates with organisations carrying out multi-project wafer (MPW) shuttle runs, in which multiple PIC designs from different customers are collected onto the same wafer to lower the cost of fabricating their prototype chips.

“The wide range of integration technologies and fabrication platforms makes selecting the best manufacturing approach for each application and device quite difficult for our customers,” Artundo explained. “We learned that our customers value an easy and straightforward solution that allows them to directly choose the most suitable way to prototype their PICs.”

Artundo claims that any customer with basic experience of photonic integration will be able to use the online tool to navigate through all the MPW design and manufacturing options that the company currently offers, in order to assess which one best suits their requirements.

“Customers will also be able to get approximate costs and manufacturing times to configure their own projects immediately. Furthermore, they can directly interface with our engineers with just one click, to resolve any hurdles they may find when facing any integration project,” he said.

Customers interested in the TriPleX silicon nitride platform should be aware of a promotion that is coming up. VLC Photonics is offering free design services for deals developed in February and included in the next TriPleX MPW shuttle run scheduled for May 2015.

“We are partnering with LioniX to promote their TriPleX integration platform, and as such, the only condition is to be a private company (not an academic user) and to access the promotion during the Photonics West exhibition or the weeks after, in February,” Artundo explained.

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