IRIS project breaks new ground in silicon photonic integration
European project IRIS (www.ict-iris.eu) has concluded with the delivery of a ground-breaking device based on silicon-photonic technology. The demonstrated device is a fully-integrated transponder-aggregator for metro networks, and allows switching and routing 12-channel signals from 4 directions to 8 ports. The ground-breaking aspect of the device is its size: everything is reduced to a 8×8 mm2 silicon photonic chip with a 3D-bonded 4×6 mm2 electronic chip on top for the control. Both chips are linked through more than 2000 connections. The device has one thousand electrically-controlled photonic elements, which is the highest ever fabricated in Europe. CNIT’s National Laboratory of Photonic Networks in Pisa, together with Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, has led the photonic design activities of the project, and has also performed the demonstration of the complete system. “The demonstrated device is a milestone in silicon photonic technology, in particular regarding the degree of photonic-electronic integration. Such high number of electrically-controlled elements in such a small surface is unprecedented. The impact of the project will go beyond the specific application for which the device was designed (metro networks), as the technology can be applied to data centers and high-performance computing.” says Dr. Claudio Oton, scientific coordinator of the CNIT team. Many of the IRIS results will be presented in the next edition of the Optical Fiber Communications conference (San Diego, USA, March 2018) and in other upcoming prestigious conferences and journals.