OneChip Photonics this week revealed strategic, outsourcing plans to expand into new markets, with announcements of newly-established relationships with semiconductor foundry GCS and wafer supplier IQE. Both announcements related to OneChip’s bigger, strategic plan to expand its services into the high-volume DCI market.
OneChip first announced that it is working with Global Communication Semiconductors (GCS), an ISO-certified pure-play compound wafer foundry. Under their fabless model, OneChip, based in Ottawa, Canada, has been working with GCS to process its OneChip-designed 4-inch InP-based wafers. GCS will be providing an array of InP wafer processing services to OneChip, which OneChip will use to produce its photonic integrated circuits for the data center interconnect (DCI) and passive optical network (PON) markets.
“GCS is the most advanced, pure-play foundry of its kind, which offers indium phosphide and high-volume RF electronics processing technologies,” said Valery Tolstikhin, founder and CTO of OneChip Photonics. “Working with GCS gives us the commercial, high-volume processing capability we need to meet the strict cost requirements of the DCI and PON markets.”
OneChip believes that GCS’s foundry services, with its opto and heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) processes in indium phosphide, is an ideal match for their fabless model, which is built around its regrowth-free PIC platform. Because GCS’s opto and HBT and OneChip’s PIC technologies share the same process, the same fabrication process will be used to integrate both electronic and photonic pieces on one substrate.
“Our InP-based Opto and RFIC process technologies have great synergies with OneChip’s PIC technology,” Brian Ann, CEO of GCS, said. “We believe OneChip is a company that can create a truly volume business for photonics in the DCI market, with the unique ability to combine PICs and electronics to create the first optoelectronic circuits in InP.”
This market requires 100Gbps+ solutions with higher interface density and longer reach than those within the reach of currently deployed systems in 0.85um and multi-mode fibers. The DCI market also requires lower cost and power consumption than the solutions offered by the traditional telecom component vendors, which leads to the second of OneChip’s announcements.
OneChip announced plans to partner with IQE, using their epitaxial growth services to produce its InP PICs for the DCI and PON markets. IQE is an independent provider of III-V semiconductor epitaxy services, to grow the epitaxial (epi) structure, which OneChip will use to produce its PICs. IQE uses advanced crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers “epi-wafers” to the major chip manufacturing companies, who then use these wafers to make the chips, which form the key components of virtually all high-technology systems.
“The iron-doped, semi-insulating 4-inch InP substrates, and the metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) growth technique, required for OneChip’s epi-wafers, are the same as those used by IQE for its high-volume epitaxy products, so we have strong economies of scale in working together.,” said Tolstikhin. “IQE is recognized as a leading independent, pure-play epi-wafer foundry, which not only provides world-class services, but also perfectly fits into our fabless PIC manufacturing model.”
OneChip’s regrowth-free multi-guide vertical integration, or MGVI, platform eliminates the need for multiple epitaxial growth steps. This will enable OneChip to decouple epitaxial growth and wafer processing, while outsourcing both functions to GCS and IQE.
“OneChip has developed some exciting new integrated photonics products for the high-volume, but cost-sensitive, optical communications markets,” said Drew Nelson, president and CEO of IQE. “We are delighted to apply our unique high-volume manufacturing expertise in producing InP-based epi-wafers for OneChip’s innovative PIC technology. OneChip’s use of the fabless manufacturing approach further endorses IQE’s outsourcing business model in the field of photonic devices, and we look forward to helping OneChip continue to scale its business as it extends its unique PIC technology to new markets.”
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