SME Instrument, SMARTPhotonics

Photonics is best known for fibre optics, where it enables lightning-fast data connectivity across long distances and digital cameras that are small and potent. Today Photonics is widely seen as offering a next paradigm enabling faster data transfer and new functionality in smart sensing.

Now, the IoT market for sensing solutions and the Telecom sector is predicted to explode over the next few years, driven by AI technologies. So far, the high-volume photonics industry has mainly been composed of discrete (non-integrated) components such as stand-alone lasers. Emerging integrated chips production exclusively takes place within vertically integrated production lines, making it impossible for thousands of sensor and data technology companies to use this technology to address the many applications that benefit from highly accurate measurements, speed and better component integration in compact devices.

SMART has developed a suite of world class photonics functional modules, which can be combined together as “building blocks”, within an integrated semiconductor platform, based on Indium Phosphide (InP). This generic integration technology simplifies the design of photonics circuits and allows SMART complete flexibility to quickly build up functional PIC chips to meet any given application.

The SME Instrument Phase 2 project will help industrialise the manufacturing processes and prepare for scale-up. The project is strategic to the company as it will develop the processes needed for reliable volume production, set-up a pilot line and develop a Process Design Kit – a software tool – that will empower customers to faster design chips with custom functionality based on SMART’s technology platform.

The specific objectives for the project are four:

  1. To industrialise the production process for photonic components and demonstrate scaled manufacture
  2. To develop new functionalities, expanding the set of building blocks available to allow more applications to be realised by customers
  3. To create a design infrastructure that enables first time right designs through predictive models for the basic building blocks
  4. To undertake commercial preparations necessary for market readiness

The SME Instrument project is running from July 2019 to December 2021. It received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 858999.

SME funding SMART Photonics

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