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Hardwire-Configurable Photonic Integrated Circuits Enabled by 3D Nano-Printing

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posted on 2023-11-30, 19:21 authored by Tobias Hoose, Matthias Blaicher, Juned Nassir Kemal, Heiner Zwickel, Muhammad Rodlin Billah, Philipp-Immanuel Dietrich, Andreas Hofmann, Wolfgang Freude, Sebastian Randel, Christian Koos
Photonic integrated circuits (PIC) currently rely on application-specific designs that are geared towards a particular functionality. Development of such application-specific PIC requires considerable effort and often involves several design, fabrication, and characterization iterations, each with cycle times of several months, to reach acceptable performance. At the same time, the number of chips that is eventually needed to serve a certain application is often too small to benefit from the scalability of advanced photonic integration platforms. As a consequence, large-scale photonic integration has hitherto been unable to unfold its full economic advantages within the highly fragmented application space of photonics. Here we introduce a novel approach to configurable PIC that can overcome these challenges. The concept exploits generic PIC designs consisting of standard building blocks that can be concatenated to provide an application-specific functionality. Configuration of the PIC relies on establishing hardwired optical connections between suitable ports of an optical wire board using highly flexible 3D direct-write laser lithography. Hardwire-configurable PIC allow to exploit high-throughput production of generic chips in large-scale fabrication facilities for serving a wide variety of applications with small or medium volumes of specifically configured devices.

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