PIC Pilot Lines
There are four pilot lines specific to PIC technology addressing silicon nitride, indium phosphide, packaging and equipment technologies as well as a number of related initiatives for photonics in the wider sense.
Pilot lines enable SMEs in Europe to take their photonic integrated circuit ideas, scale-them up, and validate them with customers for commercial production. The pilot-lines provide a reduced-barrier-to-entry via cost-effective pricing. A key remit of all existing and future pilot lines is to become sustainable after the initial 4-year duration and offer their state-of-the-art technologies and services on a fully commercial basis. The pilot lines will give SMEs easy access to advanced manufacturing services and cost-intensive infrastructures together with the expertise needed to manufacture new and innovative products. There are now four pilot lines with a specific focus on PIC technology.
PIX4Life (coordinated by IMEC) is focussed on a state-of-the-art silicon nitride photonic integrated circuit technology for health applications. The project provides the customers with the production technology to make compact, low-cost, detection and imaging systems in the visible range. PIX4Life will scale up existing platforms in order to bring silicon nitride systems towards commercial production and industrial take up. Potential use cases are expected to include biosensors, cytometers, DNA sequencers, gas sensors, microscopes and medical imagers. The PIX4Life pilot line drives leadership in health applications by making this technology accessible to industrial and academic customers together with the necessary design, packaging and test services.
PIXAPP (coordinated by Tyndall Research Institute) is the world’s first open-access photonic integrated circuit (PIC) assembly and packaging pilot-line, and helps users exploit the breakthrough advantages of PIC technologies. The PIXAPP gateway provides a unified entry point to a comprehensive range of assembly methods, packaging technologies and provides a route to pilot production of packaged parts. The consortium includes Europe’s leading industrial and research organisations and provides users with single-point access to PIC assembly and packaging. PIXAPP bridges missing gaps in the value chain, from assembly & packaging, through to equipment optimization, test and application demonstration.
OIP4NWE (coordinated by TU/e) will create an efficient open-innovation pilot-production line for shared use by European SMEs, through innovations in manufacturing equipment. The focus is onreducing the defect rate, variability in production and shortening throughput time. The new infrastructure ensure that future technology nodes provide major performance advantages at reduced cost, significantly lowering the threshold for developing new photonic products.