Role of Photonics in Enhancing IC Designs

Photonics, emerging as a new frontier, is only in its initial stage of evolution. That is, photonic engineers are the potential enough to produce both creative and demanding works with the latest availability of research, tools, and techniques. Alongside, they maintain familiarity with manufacturing limits and retain a sound working knowledge of quantum and physical optics.  

FREMONT, CA: Photonics applications are gaining momentum in the design and manufacturing processes of devices, systems, and ICs. This trend has enabled high-speed data communications, advanced sensing, and imaging. Further, photon technologies regulate the organised acceleration of speed, involving reduced power consumption and ultrasensitivity in sensing capabilities where data transmissions are performed. Photonic ICs likely prefer photons for data processing and distribution over electrons. While electrons can pass through electric components in a traditional electronic chip, photons advance with their passthrough capability on optical components, including waveguides, lasers, polarisers, and phase shifters—moreover, integrated photonic technology sanctions solutions for electronics' limitations such as integration and heat generation. Thus, devices abiding by the more-than-Moore concept undergo enhancements to increase data transmission speed and capacity.

Photonic integrated circuits (ICs) have several advantages, including miniaturisation, higher speed, low thermal effects, large integration capacity, and compatibility with processing flows for relatively high yield, volume manufacturing, and low cost. Hence, photonics technology plays a pivotal role in customers’ everyday lives on a direct or sometimes even an indirect basis. However, tele and data communications entrust photonic devices for the operation of fibre optic networks to yield increased speed and capacity in wired and wireless connections. Similarly, the definition of ‘light’ has likely evolved with the LED's introduction, which is widely used nowadays due to its affordable and robust nature. Simultaneously, solid-state lasers’ applications have also broadened, from medical to industrial purposes. While compact light lasers are employed in consumer devices such as cell phone cameras, barcode scanners, DVD players, printers, and automotive sensors,

PIC’s (Photonic IC) critical performance relays in data communications, sensing, and biomedical applications like lab-on-a-chip, wearable devices, and defence and aerospace industries. Further improvements related to PICs are to be implemented, with designers striving their best to succeed in much more technical challenges. In addition, it is anticipated that traditional electronic-based printed circuit boards (PCBs) and ICs with optoelectronic circuits will be supplemented by photonic computing in the upcoming period. Besides the existing complexities in the discipline, photonic designers face several challenges for adequate progress. For instance, when photon scaling is nothing like electronics, which is comparatively easy, it requires an acute observation where photon propagation should be noted over sharp or bent corners. Hence, a photonic circuit's square area is larger than that of an electrical IC.

The photonic industry has been progressing with promising innovations in recent years and will continue to grow in the upcoming years. Hence, via Photonic ICs, designers guarantee enhanced solutions that would evolve the semiconductor industry.