Photonics, more specific, Integrated Photonics, has been recognized by the EU as a Key Enabling Technology. Integrated Photonics is a new emerging semiconductor technology that is, compared to the conventional semiconductor, not using electrons but light creating new or improved functionalities.
The Photonic chips (PICs) will not, or minimally, replace the electronic chips (ICs), it will be a complementary technology.
Led by the University of Technology in Eindhoven (TU/e), where pioneering work on Integrated Photonics has been ongoing since the end of the last millennium, The Netherlands has taken a World-leading position in this technology.
New and unique generic integration technology for PICs has been established integrating both passive as well as active photonic components on the same base material Indium Phosphide (InP). The technology makes it possible to integrate thousands of photonic components on a few square millimeters creating functionalities that were not possible before.
The PIC-technology is still in the early phase of its lifecycle but has already shown sensing functionalities that can improve safety in Aviation (FBG sensing) and Automotive (LIDAR) and possibilities for fast detecting of bacteria and viruses (Spectrum analyzing in a chip). Next to the sensing applications, there are great expectations of the technology for communication applications.
The Dutch government has recognized the technology also as one of the most promising technologies for The Netherlands and has rewarded the Dutch Photonics cluster with a large amount of subsidy to support the growth of the cluster.
The Dutch Photonics cluster is focusing on the full value chain of integrated photonics both on InP as well as on Silicon Nitride (SiN), used for passive PICs, resulting in industrial activities like design houses, foundry- and packaging services.
Members of High Tech NL / Holland Semiconductors
Integrated Photonics is here to stay and will be more and more integrated with Silicon chips requiring amongst others, new processes, new packaging techniques, and new equipment. All the companies, active in each of these segments, are present in The Netherlands and most of them are a member of High Tech NL / Holland Semiconductors. Within our network, we connect these companies to each other, to programs, to governmental support.
It is our strong belief that cooperation between companies, institutes, universities, and governments will strengthen the Dutch Semiconductor- and Photonics- clusters enabling faster and better functionalities for health, transport, safety and much more!
For more information on our Integrated Photonica activities, please contact Willem Endhoven.
T: 06 270 556 20