News Article

8.5 Million Euro Boost For Hybrid Photonics

"Helios" project led by CEA-Leti will focus on III-V/silicon integration for future photonics applications; related silicon photonics foundry steps up service offering.

No fewer than 19 partners are working on a new, €8.5 million ($12.2 million) European project that aims to combine compound semiconductors with silicon in a fresh attempt to merge photonics and CMOS technology.

Led by French technology giant CEA-Leti, the Helios project officially kicked-off in May 2008. It also features compound semiconductor expertise provided by the Alcatel-Thales III-V laboratory, fellow French outfit 3S Photonics (formerly Alcatel Optronics and then Avanex), and the Belgian microelectronics research firm IMEC.

Partners bringing silicon photonics knowledge include the UK s University of Surrey, the University of Trento in Italy, and DAS Photonics, a Spanish company that spun out of the Nanophotonics Technology Center in Valencia.

Running over four years, the primary aim for Helios is to "make CMOS photonics accessible to a broad circle of users in a foundry-like, fabless way".

III-V materials have clearly been identified as crucial to what could be perceived as "silicon photonics", however. For example, one key goal of the project is to develop high-performance WDM sources via heterogeneous integration of compound and silicon semiconductors.

And, while silicon lasers are listed as one of the more challenging concepts under investigation, III-Vs will clearly have a role to play in the development of a complete production chain for complex functional devices.

"Integration of electronics and photonics in a single chip will be addressed not only at the process level, but also through the development of an adequate design environment," clunked CEA-Leti in its release, citing 10x10 Gb/s transceivers and 40 Gb/s modulators as two of the industrial components to be developed through public funding.

And once they are established under the EU s 7th Framework Programme, these design and fabrication chains will transfer to European manufacturers, says the official project description.

Meanwhile, IMEC and CEA-Leti are stepping up their existing "silicon photonics" prototyping service, which has been operational since 2006.

Also known as PhotonFAB, the multi-project wafer manufacturing service is again being supported through the 7th Framework Programme. IMEC and CEA-Leti have now agreed to extend the service to include a more extensive technology portfolio, new design libraries and client training.

CS International to return to Brussels – bigger and better than ever!

The leading global compound semiconductor conference and exhibition will once again bring together key players from across the value chain for two-days of strategic technical sessions, dynamic talks and unrivalled networking opportunities.

Join us face-to-face between 28th – 29th June 2022

  • View the agenda.
  • 3 for the price of 1. Register your place and gain complementary access to TWO FURTHER industry leading conferences: PIC International and SSI International.
  • Email  or call +44 (0)24 7671 8970 for more details.

*90% of exhibition space has gone - book your booth before it’s too late!


Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
Live Event