Tower Semiconductor, in collaboration with Quintessent, Inc, announced the first heterogeneous integration of GaAs quantum dot (QD) lasers and a foundry silicon photonics platform (PH18DB). This PH18DB platform is targeted for optical transceiver modules in datacenters and telecom networks, as well as new emerging applications in artificial intelligence, machine learning, LiDAR and other sensors. According to the market research firm LightCounting, the silicon photonics transceiver market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24 percent reaching a TAM of $9B in 2025.

The new PH18DB platform offers GaAs based QD lasers and semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) built on Tower’s high volume base PH18M silicon photonics foundry technology, that includes low loss waveguides, photodetectors and modulators heterogeneously integrated on a single silicon chip. This platform will enable dense photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that can support higher-channel count in small form factor.  Open foundry availability of this 220 nm SOI platform will provide access to a broad array of product development teams, to simplify their PIC design through use of laser and SOA pcells, in addition to the feature rich baseline PH18 process.

Initial process design kits for PH18DB have been made available in partnership with DARPA under the Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems program, which aims to bring high performance lasers to advanced photonics platforms for commercial and defense applications, and MPWs are planned for 2023 and 2024.

This PH18DB platform complements Tower’s previously announced, and now prototyping, PH18DA platform that offers heterogeneously integrated InP lasers, modulators and detectors.

These two heterogeneously integrated SiPho foundry platforms offer a rich set of devices and options to designers across the broad spectrum of leading edge applications. Tower continues to offer its silicon-only PH18MA platform, now in high volume production, for applications that do not require heterogeneous integration of III-V active elements.