TP-7: Si3N4 and SiO2 passive waveguide technologies


Arne Leinse - LIO Partn

Technology description

The “Silicon Nitride Waveguide technology” platform enables the fabrication of waveguides based on silicon nitride. The platform contains both a commercial foundry (LXI) as well as a platform from a major national research institute (Imec). Both platforms have their own specific Unique Selling Points and together cover a very broad range of applications. The LXI platform (which is branded as TriPleX™) focusses on ultra-low propagation losses. This platform was developed since 2003 into a Process Design Kit (PDK) for IR (1550 nm) in which a hybrid combination with InP is enabled by the implementation of narrow linewidth lasers in the PDK. This is complemented by a PDK for visible light developed within the PIX4Life pilot line project.

The second platform within TP7 is the BioPIX platform of Imec. Since 2012, Imec has started new activities in SiN waveguides on silicon in the 200mm CMOS pilot line. This was the start of the development of the BioPIX platform and in the PIX4Life project a PDK is developed.

The main interest of this platform is its full compatibility with CMOS processes and the possibility to post-process on CMOS wafers containing e.g. CMOS imagers or electric circuits. Moreover, PIC and package design are supported by several partners such as the design centres in ICCS.  The TP 7 platform also holds design capabilities enabled via the PDKs of Imec and LXI, which allow for system level design of PICs.

Application domains

With the PIC platforms that are available within this TP a broad range of applications can be covered over a broad wavelength range.

IMEC’s SiN PDK from the PIX4Life pilot line is suitable for visible light applications and enables the high density integration with CMOS. The platform has the capability to add a SiN waveguide layer to finalized CMOS-wafers, in particular CMOS image sensors This combination is extremely suitable for a broad range of high volume biophotonics applications.

The LXI PDKs cover wavelength ranges in the 1550 nm range (12 MPW runs in this range have already been achieved) and in the visible light range (the PDK from the PIX4Life pilot line). The ultra low loss waveguide properties and the ability to create spot size converters allows for low loss coupling to other waveguide platforms and fibers. The application domains for the 1550 nm PDK are varying from telecom applications to sensing. The visible light PDK finds its use in biophotonics applications.

Partners involved in this Technology Platform