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Posted: Sep 02, 2008

IMEC and CEA-LETI launch ePIXfab as a cost-effective silicon photonics prototyping service

(Nanowerk News) IMEC and CEA-LETI launch ePIXfab, the continuation of their successful multi-project wafer silicon photonics prototyping service started in 2006. Co-funded by the European Union through the Seventh Framework Program and coordinated by IMEC, ePIXfab aims at reducing the large barriers for access to and market take-up of silicon photonics technology by focusing on reduced cost, risk and design effort, education, and roadmapping.
With their joint initiative ePIXfab, IMEC and CEA-LETI continue to offer a cost-effective way for researchers and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) to prototype photonic integrated circuits in silicon. ePIXfab organizes shuttle (also called multi project wafer) fabrication runs with IMEC and LETI wafer-scale technologies, including 193nm deep-UV lithography-based processes. Now, IMEC and LETI have agreed to significantly extend this service to enable a broader market take-up of silicon photonic IC technology. Dedicated prototyping and small-volume manufacturing is also possible based on IMEC or LETI technology.
A wider offering
Starting in September 2008, the PhotonFAB project will provide the ePIXfab service with a more extensive technology portfolio, new design libraries, education and training for the clients, a shuttle service roadmap and a more streamlined operation. Funded by the European Union as a FP7 Support Action, PhotonFAB will in this way lower the design effort, risk and bare costs for the clients. In addition, clients from countries fully associated to the FP7 program will be able to get additional cost reductions for the shuttle service and training activities.
Silicon photonics IC technology enables versatile and highly functional integrated circuits that handle light information. Photonic integrated circuits are used in applications such as communication networks, sensors, monitoring and bio-analysis. Using silicon allows to increase the functionality of a photonic chip by several orders of magnitude. By manufacturing with CMOS technology, the chips are reliable and can be used in volume applications.
Since 2006, thanks to the collaboration between IMEC and CEA-LETI, over 25 academic and SME groups have been able to perform their research and develop their IC technology in a fabless way with reduced costs, by joining many IC designs in a single fabrication run.
Information sessions
ePIXfab will organize two information sessions for its fabrication service and on the PhotonFAB project: one at the IEEE Group IV Photonics conference, September 17-19 2008, Sorrento, Italy, and a second one at the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication 2008 (ECOC), September 21-25 2008, Brussels, Belgium Detailed information on these events and the ePIXfab services is available from
About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, IMEC-NL, offices in the US, China and Taiwan, and representatives in Japan. Its staff of more than 1600 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2007, its revenue (P&L) was EUR 244.5 million.
IMEC's More Moore research aims at semiconductor scaling towards sub-32nm nodes. With its More than Moore research, IMEC looks into technologies for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics.
IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems. In the field of photonics IMEC is joining forces with its associated laboratory at Ghent University where a team of 40 researchers, led by prof. Roel Baets, is doing research in the field of silicon photonics and its applications.
Further information on IMEC can be found at
Leti, a CEA laboratory located in Grenoble, is one of the main European applied research centers in electronics. More than 85% of its activity is devoted to research with 350 contracts a year. Since its creation in 1967, Leti has led to the creation of almost 30 start-ups in high-technology. The main areas of activity are in micro- and nanotechnologies for microelectronics (more Moore, More than Moore and Beyond CMOS), technologies, design and integration of microsystems, photonics and imaging technologies, micro- and nano-technologies for biology and health, communication technologies and nomad objects.
Leti is endowed with an annual budget of 174 MEUR and employs 1,000 people with, in addition, more than 600 external collaborators (postgraduates, research partners and industrialists). Leti have 8,000m" of clean rooms, an equipment portfolio worth 200 MEUR and invest more than 40 MEUR a year on new equipment. Leti have a dynamic Intellectual Property politics and have filed more than 200 new patent files in 2007. Leti is one of the main forces behind MinatecŪ , Europe's premier Centre of Excellence in Micro- and Nano-technologies. Today, MinatecŪ brings together more than 4,000 researchers, industrialists and teaching staff in Grenoble.
Further information on LETI can be found at
Source: IMEC
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