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The innovative EU-Horizon-2020 research project 3PEAT started in the beginning of January 2018 in Athens. The goal of the project is the joint development of a new kind of integration platform with low optical loss and high integration density for optical switching and remoting sensing applications. Under the coordination of the Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS), an international consortium comprising six companies (Optagon Photonics, LioniX, Solmates, Cordon Electronics Italia, Mellanox and Polytec) and three research institutes (ICCS, Fraunhofer-HHI and Univ. Twente) aims to cover the whole fabrication of optical switching and remote sensing modules based on a 3D platform.
One of the major objectives of the project is the development of a fully functional 3D photonic integration platform based on the use of multiple waveguiding layers and vertical couplers in Fraunhofer's PolyBoard technology, as a means to disrupt the integration scale and functionality. LioniX will offer its silicon-nitride platform (TriPleX) for the combination with this powerful 3D photonic technology via the development of a methodology for the deposition and processing of multilayer polymers inside etched windows on TriPleX chips.
Levering this 3D integration platform, 3PEAT consortium will model and design the optical switching and sensing modules (ICCS/NTUA, Optagon) with parallel development of key innovations at the integration and component level relating to: a) the heterogeneous integration of PZT films on TriPleX platform for development of phase shifters and switches for operation up to 50 MHz (LioniX, Solmates), b) the development of a disruptive external cavity laser on the same platform with linewidth less than 1 kHz (UTwente, LioniX), c) the development for the first time of an integrated circulator on PolyBoard with isolation more than 25 dB (FhG-HHI), and d) the development of flexible types of PolyBoards for the purpose of physical interconnection of other PICs (FhG-HHI).
This enormous breadth of innovations can remove the current limitations and unleash the full potential of optical switching and remote sensing and ranging applications, focusing on an 36×36 optical switch with 20 ns switching time and possibility for power and cost savings of almost 95% compared to standard electronic solutions and on an integrated disruptive Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV), including its optical beam scanning unit, integrated on a very large, hybrid 3D PIC.
The PolyBoard and TriPlex platforms being individually extended as part of 3PEAT, are planned to be made available as a single integration platform in the future as well. The combination of the advantages of both platforms is expected to bring new capabilities in the design and manufacturing of integrated photonic components and to open new market opportunities, addressing industry's special needs by providing tailor-made solutions.