An important part of the Institute for Photonic Integration will be the technology center that must ensure that the fundamental knowledge acquired in the scientific research finds its way to products and companies so that users, industry and society can benefit.
Just as in the research, the work of the technology center is divided into materials, integrated circuits and systems. In the area of integrated circuits a technology center, called JePPIX and which will be incorporated in the Institute for Photonic Integration, has already been around for some while.
JePPIX stands for the Joint European Platform for Photonic Integration, a cooperation initiative begun by TU/e in 2006 and which has 250 companies and knowledge institutions worldwide as members today. The goal is to get photonic chips to the market. JePPIX is working on standardizing the technology to help developers to relatively easily design and make PICs and prototypes.
In addition, JePPIX introduced the so-called foundry model in photonics. The production of microchips requires expensive cleanrooms and equipment, which makes the costs difficult to bear for any one company on its own. The chips are manufactured on a circular disk with a fixed measurement, a wafer. JePPIX arranges for the space on the wafers to be shared by more than one party so that each can have its chips made on that wafer. This is only viable if the technology used is standardized, and if each party, therefore, uses the same technology. So this wafer sharing approach also helps substantially cut development costs and makes product development affordable for small companies too. Thanks to JePPIX, the development costs of photonic chips have been reduced by a factor of twenty.
Find out more about JePPIX at jeppix.eu