New silicon optical waveguide process technology

1 min read

Tower Semiconductor and Anello Photonics, the developer of the Silicon Photonic Optical Gyroscope, have announced a strategic partnership to develop a new low-loss Silicon Optical Waveguide technology and manufacturing process.

The foundry version of the process will enable adoption in a wide range of markets such as: automotive LiDAR, bio-sensing, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, microwave photonics and optical communications that require complex integration of high-performance optical devices.

The low-loss Silicon Nitride waveguide process approaches 0.005dB/cm propagation loss at 1550nm wavelengths with less than 1mm bend radius. This process delivers one to two orders of magnitude lower loss than other commercial foundry processes at a compact bend radius for both 1550nm and 1310nm wavelengths.

The combination of low loss along with small bend radius enables fabrication of a new class of high performing devices, including long (>10m) delays lines and tiny on-chip resonators with high quality factors (high-Q) surpassing 100 million.

A range of optical applications could all benefit from the breakthrough capabilities delivered by this new low-loss process.

“Silicon photonics is strategic for Tower being a singular enabler in numerous fast-growing end-markets. Tower invests heavily in this area,” said Russell Ellwanger, Tower Semiconductor CEO. “Working with Anello is an example of how Tower selectively partners with proven industry experts to develop and scale process technology.”

Anello Photonics and Tower Semiconductor have developed this process over the last eighteen months, and Anello’s SiPhOG gyroscope utilises the process to directly replace the optical fibre found in a traditional Fiber Optic Gyroscopes.

A foundry version of this process is being offered by Tower to its customers at the beginning of 2022.

“This announcement represents a breakthrough in low-loss optical transmission on silicon, enabling a variety of new silicon-based products previously not considered practical with integrated photonics fabrication technology”, said Mario Paniccia, CEO and Co-Founder of Anello.