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  7. 2021/07/14 【Miniaturize your optical system into a photonic integrated circuit vol.3】 by VLC Photonics

2021/07/14【Miniaturize your optical system into a photonic integrated circuit vol.3】 by VLC Photonics

Our group company, VLC Photonics, will issue the white paper “Miniaturize your optical system into a photonic integrated circuit”.
We distribute the contents of this white paper with this newsletter over 3 weeks.

This time, please let us deliver the final issue of this whitepaper which include the state of the art technology in the photonic integration market and the development support of ASPIC offered by VLC Photonics.

White paper includes the market, technology and challenges of Photonic Integrated Circuit, so we hope you have interest in Photonic Integration and VLC Photonics.

VLC Photonics Whitepaper v2.2 June, 2021

Miniaturize your optical system into a photonic integrated circuit vol.3

Learn how you can benefit from this technology


hotonic technologies use the light to enable multiple applications nowadays, from optical telecommunications to biomedical diagnostic devices or precise fiber sensors for all kinds of structures.
Still, optical components tend to be bulky and expensive, and require precise stabilization and assembly, especially when interfacing with electronics. Embedding some photonic functionalities into an integrated optical chip can simplify a system and dramatically decrease its costs.

However, the cutting-edge optical manufacturing technologies enabling such chip integration were traditionally affordable only by very few.
Nowadays, generic photonic integration has been demonstrated as a very interesting technology that provides cost effective and high-performance miniaturization for a wide range of applications and markets.

In In this last issue of the white paper, we highlight the state of the art technology in ASPIC and the development service of ASPIC offering by VLC Photonics with its strength compared with others.

What is the state of the art for ASPICs?

Similarity to what happened in the last 50 years in the microelectronics industry*1-2, generic integration in photonics is enabling a business model in which design houses without fabrication facilities(fabless) make use of generic manufacturing services provided by external foundries.

Currently, monolithic integration for SOI*3 and InP*4 relies on mature and well-established fabrication processes, rending high yield manufacturing platforms for even the most demanding markets, they will thus be used as an example in the following sections.

What functionalities can be implemented?
An ever-growing set of building blocks and predefined subsystems is available for the InP and SOI platforms, as can be seen below in Figure2.
These building blocks are either offered by the foundries through design kits, or developed by design houses under proprietary libraries, and they can be directly plugged into more complex chip designs.

InP and SOI building blocks and example devices ( adapted from Ref. 20 ). * Phase shifters in InP can use thermo-optic and electro-optic effects, while in SOI only thermo-optic. ** Detectors are olso possible in SOI. ***Grating couplers can only be implemented in SOI.

VLC Photonics’ custom ASPICs

When assembling a product with some optical functionalities, the usual workflow involves different actors.
Traditionally, as shown in Figure3(top), photonics components have been incorporated into assemblies by sub-system integrators, who serve demand from module or system providers at the request of the end users.
Sub-system integrators are usually OEM manufacturers that make use of one or several specific photonic components from different manufacturers and assemble them together into a single product.

Traditional photonic manufacturing food chain (top) and generic integration food chain (bottom), showing fabless design house operation.

At VLC Photonics we can develop custom ASPICs that adapt to your specific needs and requirements.
Our solutions can span the whole integration process, from the initial system concept to chip design, prototyping and mass manufacturing, working also closely with the foundries to assist them with their design kits, as shown in Fig,4.

VLC Photonics services and solutions, spanning the whole product development chain.

Our optical system and photonic design expertise are based on our +15 year-long expertise on the field, being able to offer an optimal approach to any integration project and quickly react to your requests in no time.
Our experience with all current photonic integration technologies and major foundries distinguish us from other design houses, who are usually focused on only a single material system or attached to a specific foundry.
We thus are able to match the best technology and foundry with your target application, guaranteeing an optimal chip implementation.

We are also able to fully characterize and test any manufactured ASPIC at our facilities, through automated optical setups in clean vaults, ensuring that the delivered chips fully comply with your requirements, and that the foundry performed as specified.
We are able to offer additional services too, like packaging or opto-electric integration, through our extensive network of partners.

Moreover, total confidentiality is always maintained with our customers, protecting all developments with our customers, protecting all developments with non-disclosure agreements, and acting as a confidentiality firewall among customer and foundry if needed.
Proper design protection is always in place, and any IP developed for our customers always remain their property.

Finally, we always work close to you at all stages to ensure that the outcome of any photonic integration project is exactly what you need and it is optimized for your end application.

The xomplete customer orientation of VLC Photonics allows to serve defferent markets by developing a custom photonic solution optimized for each application.


Photonic integration can impact any optical system by reducing its complexity and cost, while providing superior and sometimes unique features and scalability.

With several integration technologies available in the market, it is critical to know which is the best material platform and foundry to manufacture a custom Application Specific Photonic Integrated Circuit(ASPIC), to optimally match the application at hand.

Photonic design houses can provide valuable insight on the most appropriate implementation and manufacturing of an integrated optical system, and greatly reduce the cost, time and risk for any integration project.

VLC Photonics wants to be your partner for all your optical integration needs, from initial R&D consulting to the later design, prototyping and product development.
We put all our expertise and optical know-how at your disposal, to ensure an easy and successful outcome in any photonic integration project.


J.T. Macher and D.C. Mowery, “Vertical specialization and industry structure in high technology industries,” in Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 21, pp. 317-356, 2004.
C. Brown and G. Linden, “Offshoring in the Semiconductor Industry: A Historical Perspective,” in Brookings Trade Forum on Offshoring of White-Collar Work, 2005.
P. Dumon, W. Bogaerts, R. Baets, J.-M. Fedeli and L. Fulbert, “Towards foundry approach for silicon photonics: silicon photonics platform ePIXfab,” in Electronics Letters, Vol. 45(12), pp. 581-582, 2009.
X.J.M. Leijtens, “JePPIX: the platform for InP-based photonics,” in Proc. of the 15th European Conference in Integrated Optics (ECIO), pp. ThG3-1/2, Cambridge, United Kingdom, April 2010.

Legal Disclaimer
This white paper, © by VLC Photonics S.L. intends to facilitate the knowledge of the trademark, its activities and services. Consequently, VLC Photonics S.L. reserve all rights, especially the rights of reproduction, distribution, communication to the public and transformation.
VLC Photonics S.L. is not responsible for any consequences or damages that may arrive from the use of any of the information contained within this document or its references.
The conditions for the partial reproduction of elements in this white paper are:

  • That VLC Photonics S.L. is cited specifically as the source of the information or material.
  • That the information and content is cited solely on the basis that it is used for information purposes only and not for commercial gain or any other distinct use that is not private or individual.
  • That no content contained in this white paper is modified in whatever form.
  • That no image available on this white paper shall be used, copied or distributed separately from the accompanying text or other content that accompanies it.
  • That it is communicated in writing and in an irrefutable manner to VLC Photonics S.L. and, that certified authorization is obtained from the company for the stated reproduction.

This is the last issue of this white paper issued by VLC Photonics.
We truly believe that the photonic integration technology will be a solution for the complex optical systems these days.
Hitachi High-Tech is looking forward to supporting your development of photonic integration through VLC Photonics.

Click here to know more about Photonic Integration and VLC Photonics. Click here to know more about Photonic Integration and VLC Photonics.

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