Ligentec and VLC Photonics Offer Platform for Prototyping and Fabrication of Photonic ICs

Ligentec, a provider of manufacturing foundry services using silicon nitride, and VLC Photonics, a design house offering services for photonic circuit development, are jointly offering a generic platform for the prototyping and fabrication of photonic integrated circuits.

Ligentec has developed and improved a proprietary silicon nitride process that can achieve ultra-low propagation losses.
The company claims to have fabricated several world record devices in the last few years. Michael Zervas, CEO of Ligentec, explained, “Our process is able to deposit thick film silicon nitride, from 100 nm to 2500 nm, overcoming the challenge of crack formation due to stress in the material.” According to Ligentec, the process can also be scaled up to production volumes with 8” wafers and stepper lithography.

Ligentec process can scale up to mass production on 8″ wafers and stepper lithography

According to Ligentec, the process can also be scaled up to production volumes with 8” wafers and stepper lithography. The open access platform offers a generic fabrication process that can be used in designing and manufacturing photonic integrated circuits for many different applications.

The process targets primarily the most common communications wavelengths, and the platform is suitable for sensing and biophotonic applications and also customizable for lower visible wavelengths. The main markets addressed are optical telecom and datacom, microwave photonics, supercontinuum generation, and quantum optics.

The company organizes the fabrication through dedicated full-wafer runs or shared multi-project wafer runs, which Ligentec schedules periodically, three times a year. Employing the standardized rules and functional building blocks from the foundry and the design house, users can prepare their designs and can subscribe to these runs.

These functional building blocks and standardized rules have also been implemented through a Process Design Kit (PDK) which can be used with two different design software tools, IPKISS by Luceda Photonics and OptoDesigner by PhoeniX Software.

VLC Photonics will also offer full design or design support for inexperienced users along with chip characterization and test services after fabrication has been performed. More information about these services can be found at