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PHORMIC establishes a European platform for next-generation programmable photonic chips with a low adoption threshold for product developers in diverse application domains. The PHORMIC platform consists of three tiers. 

The first tier is a 200 mm wafer-scale fabrication flow that augments an established world-class silicon photonics platform with transfer-printed III-V optical amplifiers and compact low-power MEMS actuators. The devices are encapsulated in wafer-scale hermetically sealed cavities that will also be used for on-chip gas cells to calibrate the tunable lasers built in PHORMIC. The combination of high-speed silicon photonics, broadband optical gain and low-power MEMS tuners is a true enabler for new applications. The process flow will be supported by a design kit for building complex photonic circuits. 

The second tier supplements the photonic chips with modular packaging processes and driver electronics (including high-speed drivers), and the packaging and connectivity logic are integrated in the design kit. This provides a low-threshold entry point for building complex photonic chip-based systems with active control and programmability. 

The third tier builds on this to create a multipurpose programmable photonic processor, which can control the flow of light in an analogue way through a software interface. This chip, together with its electronics and programming framework, forms a true “photonics development kit”. This enables an off-the-shelf use model like that of electronic FPGAs, reducing prototyping time for new concepts from >1 year to weeks. 

The PHORMIC consortium has all expertise to establish a full supply chain, including a migration path to a European industrial 200 mm foundry. The application potential of the three tiers of the platform is validated through three demonstrators, in datacenter communication, sensing and mm-wave wireless beamforming. For each case, a custom-designed chip will be compared to the multipurpose photonic processor. 

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EU H2020 Projects