GF Collaborates with Fabrinet on Fiber-Attach Capability for Silicon Photonics Platform

In March 2022, GlobalFoundries announced GF FotonixTM a new platform that monolithically integrates high-performance RF, digital CMOS and silicon photonics (SiPH) circuits on the same chip, while leveraging the scale, efficiencies and tight process controls of 300 millimeter silicon manufacturing. 

GF has qualified this innovative technology to meet the demands of today and tomorrow’s most urgent, complex and difficult challenges in areas such as data center interconnect, optical networking, photonic computing, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), and co-packaged optics. What’s the next step to getting silicon photonics into the hands of manufacturers and ultimately customers? 

Creating an end-to-end ecosystem for silicon photonics is critical to expanding GF’s photonics technologies in the market. GF is working with industry leaders in packaging, EDA tools and other critical categories for its silicon photonics portfolio, helping to create this end-to-end ecosystem enabling its customers to develop and build innovative chips. 

One such industry collaborator is Fabrinet, a leading provider of advanced optical packaging and precision optical, electro-mechanical, and electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers of complex products, such as optical communication components, modules and subsystems, automotive components, medical devices, industrial lasers and sensors. Fabrinet has combined GF expertise to enable high fiber count, passively aligned fiber arrays for light input and output from our silicon photonics die. This development leverages Fabrinet’s existing proven manufacturing expertise in optical components and assemblies, and co-packaged optics that eliminates the need for transceivers by packaging silicon switch circuitry with optics in the module or package. 

Using silicon photonics samples from GF and sharing its process technology expertise, Fabrinet has now demonstrated fiber-attach capabilities for the 90 nm silicon photonics process. This showcases the full manufacturability and viability of the GF Fotonix technology. 

The two companies are also collaborating to bring fiber-attach to GF’s 45 nm platform technologies, including GF Fotonix silicon photonics wafers, and anticipates those being fully tested and qualified by end of 2022. 

Wafers with fiber-attach developed by Fabrinet with GF support will be fully qualified to the Telcordia industry standard by end of 2022. 

Why is this collaboration to enable fiber-attach significant? silicon photonics has been heralded as a major breakthrough in silicon chip production. The process of getting highly advanced chips from production into products is extremely complex. This process starts with availability of the silicon, and relies on an ecosystem that provides EDA tools, design kits, software, packaging innovations, testing tools and other elements to result in a complete silicon solution. 

As chips based on silicon photonics start to become available in volume later this year, the industry is expecting to see significant uptake in applications that include: 

  • High-performance computing 
  • Optical quantum computing 
  • Artificial intelligence 
  • Telecommunications 
  • Networking 
  • Virtual and augmented reality 
  • Defense and aerospace 

Fabrinet offers a broad range of advanced optical and electro-mechanical capabilities across the entire manufacturing process, including process design and engineering, supply chain management, manufacturing, advanced packaging, integration, final assembly and testing. Fabrinet focuses on production of high complexity products in any mix and any volume. Fabrinet maintains engineering and manufacturing resources and facilities in Thailand, the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, Israel and the United Kingdom. For more information visit: 

GF is growing its silicon photonics ecosystem and will be reporting here on this and other silicon photonics developments to accelerate time-to-market for customers. Watch for news around laser-attach, stacking chips and enabling on-chip copper connectivity and more.