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Posted: February 10, 2010
PLATON - a new European research project on plasmonics and silicon photonics
(Nanowerk News) The new research project PLATON is targeting the realization of a fully integrated Terabit per second optical routing system for data networks through merging Plasmonics and Silicon Photonics. All consortium partners have gathered for the kick off meeting in Dijon for the first time and discussed their joint activities within the new project.
PLATON aims to be the first project that will realize Terabit per second optical routing fabrics for optical interconnects in backplanes and Blade Servers adopting Plasmonics as its disruptive technological vehicle. Plasmonics is an emerging research discipline that deals with the demonstration of entirely new classes of devices based on surface plasmon waves. Surface plasmon waves were first observed in the 1980’s, with light waves traveling at the interface between a metal and a dielectric and inducing a resonant interaction between the waves and the free electrons at the surface of the metal.
Expecting to deliver important advantages to the end-users, it will enable high-speed communications and ultra-fast access to data information being stored at large computer centers whilst investing in a new technological platform that aims to merge plasmonics with silicon photonics and electronics. This is expected to reduce cost, power consumption and size requirements, enabling the effective consolidation of today’s internet and computer server rooms that store huge amounts of information into smaller-size rack- or even box-interconnect environments.
PLATON will pioneer the field of routing for optical interconnects and will provide a completely new technological toolkit, bringing Europe in a leading position world-wide with respect to research efforts in Plasmonics for interconnects. It will also open totally new application vistas and opportunities for European industry being active in the field of nanophotonics, given that the active participation of industry within PLATON ensures the industrial take up of the combined Plasmonics/Photonics functional devices from research elements to commercially available products.
The PLATON project is coordinated by the Greek Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, whose main task within PLATON will constitute the analysis, design and optimization of the final Terabit per second router prototype. With Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Institut fuer Zuverlaessigkeit & Mikrointegration in Berlin, the Syddansk Universitet Denmark, Universite de Bourgogne France, the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems Greece as well as AMO GmbH, Aachen the main partners with competences in optics and photonics are working together to reach the challenging project targets.
The commercial exploitation of the PLATON components is guaranteed with the involvement of the German SME AMO GmbH, fabrication specialist for SOI nanophotonic devices. The mission of AMO is to develop innovative technologies for nanoelectronics and nanophotonics and their implementation in novel devices architectures to a prototype level. AMO GmbH will seek actively to promote the new technology to its industrial partners as a disruptive solution that can deliver advanced hardware for radically upgrading data communication networks and new technological solutions for silicon photonics fabrication foundries.
The PLATON project is supported by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ICT-2009-4). Further details of the projects’ objectives and the partners can be found at the project’s website.