DARPA’s On-chip Terabit Laser Communication Program

American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), a program of NY CREATES gave $19 million in research program awards for advanced integrated photonics under The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) program. AIM Photonics is advancing technology for applications with self-driving vehicles, AR, 3D camera technology, quantum computing, military microsystems, big data, and biosensing.

LUMOS is part of the third phase of DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) – a five-year, upwards of $1.5 billion investment to re-energize Moore’s Law.

The first LUMOS Technical Area brings high-performance lasers and optical amplifiers into advanced domestic photonics manufacturing foundries. Two research teams were selected in this area: Tower Semiconductor and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. These performers will work to demonstrate flexible, efficient on-chip optical gain in their photonics processes to enable next-generation optical microsystems for communications, computing, and sensing. LUMOS technologies will be made available to future design teams through DARPA-sponsored multi-project wafer runs.

Tower Semiconductor (NASDAQ/TASE: TSEM), the leading foundry of high value analog semiconductor solutions. Alpine Optoelectronics and Tower Semiconductor began production of the 400G PAM4 nCP4™ optical engine on Tower Semiconductor’s PH18 Silicon Photonics technology platform. Alpine’s nCP4™ chip converts 4 lanes of 56Gbaud electrical input into 4 lanes of optical output for use in 400Gbps DR4 transceivers to support high-speed connectivity in data center applications. They will be deploying 400Gb and 800Gb platforms over the next few years.

Based on LightCounting’s recent Integrated Optical Devices Report, Silicon Photonics based optical transceivers will enjoy an annual growth of 45% from 2019 to 2025, and it is expected to reach a market size of 3.9B USD in 2025.

Tower’s PH18 Silicon Photonics open foundry process offers a rich set of optical components including ultra-high bandwidth modulators, photodetectors, and low-loss waveguides that can be combined to enable innovative and highly integrated photonic products.

The second LUMOS Technical Area seeks to develop high power lasers and amplifiers on fast photonics platforms for microwave applications. Research teams include Ultra-Low Loss Technologies, Quintessent, Harvard University, and Sandia National Laboratories.

Quintessent is a Santa Barbara start-up commercializing quantum dot-based lasers and photonic integrated circuits. Entrada Ventures invested in Quintessent, to make optical engines to power the growing connectivity needs of the future. Quintessent uses advanced semiconductor materials and laser architectures to scale high bandwidth communication channels in optical networks powering the cloud and deep learning systems.

The final LUMOS Technical Area creates precise lasers and integrated photonic circuits for visible spectrum applications with an ambitious goal of “wavelength by design” across an unprecedented spectral range. The teams will seek to develop lasers at many challenging wavelengths throughout the program to enable compact atomic sensors for navigation, precise timing solutions, and emerging quantum information hardware. Selected research teams include Nexus Photonics, Yale University, California Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

SOURCES- Aim Photonics, DARPA, Tower Semiconductor, Nexus Photonics, Quintessent
Written buy Brain Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

2 thoughts on “DARPA’s On-chip Terabit Laser Communication Program”

  1. I definitely see a wide array of technologies benefiting from faster electronics. Whoever cracks that nut will be very wealthy.

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