Prof Peter O'Brien, IPIC

Tyndall Institue to lead Pixapp photonics consortium

Prof Peter O'Brien, IPIC

29 March 2017

The EU is investing €15.5 million in a new international photonics consortium, Pixapp, to be led by the Tyndall National Institute for supporting the industrial development and manufacture of photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Photonics involves the generation, control and detection of light and is being used in areas such as fiber optic communications, medical diagnostic sensors, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things.

Speaking from the Photonics21 AGM in Brussels, Pixapp Pilot Line Director and Head of Photonics Packaging Research at Tyndall National Institute Prof. Peter O’Brien said: “The consortium involved in Pixapp, led by Tyndall, has an unmatched record of excellence in delivering many world firsts in PICs. We will establish best in class PIC packaging technologies that are cost-effective and scalable to high volume manufacture.

“We will offer these technologies through a single easy access point, which we call the Pilot Line Gateway, which is located at Tyndall. Furthermore we plan to train and educate the photonics workforce of the future by creating a unique laboratory based training programme. This programme is a game-changer not only for the European photonics industry but also global photonics.”

Packaging PICs can represent up to 80% of the cost of photonics components, making it a critical area for the industry. Pixapp is the first open access PIC assembly and packaging pilot line, with an interdisciplinary team of European industrial and research organisations.

Partners in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Czech Republic each bring their own particular expertise to provide SMEs with the infrastructure to help them exploit the latest PIC technologies.

Jose Pozo, Director of the European Photonics Industry Consortium, said: “In the past, it has been very expensive to manufacture high volumes of PICs, and more expensive and challenging again to package them. This is creating a bottleneck for production, which is impacting the potential for growth in the photonics industry.

“I am confident that Tyndall National Institute’s leadership will deliver market success for Europe and drive our competitiveness across the communications, medical, automotive, energy, safety and defence sectors globally.”

The photonics market is expected to be worth more than €615 billion by 2020.

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