Brolis Semiconductors of Vilnius, Lithuania has established a new R&D division Brolis Semiconductors BVBA in Ghent, Belgium.
The new Belgian entity will focus on the design and development of novel integrated photonic systems, combining Brolis’ proprietary III-V long-wave infrared light source technology with CMOS-compatible photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology. Special emphasis is directed towards the development of new OEM gallium antimonide (GaSb)/silicon-on-insulator (SOI) system-on-a-chip laser technology for sensing applications in the 1.5–3.5μm spectral range and beyond for healthcare and industrial markets.
“Brolis is delighted to add photonic integrated circuit technology to the existing technology portfolio – we believe it provides a new dimension to our existing III-V semiconductor technology,” says Augustinas Vizbaras, co-founder & head of chip technology. “The addition of silicon technology to GaSb is expected to pave the way to an integrated hybrid chip technology with completely new functionality – such as OEM remote laser sensors for industrial and healthcare applications with a footprint of a few mm2, which could enter any handheld, wearable device platform offering features not available today,” he adds. “We are particularly happy to land in Ghent – a world famous location for silicon photonics technology research. Successful cooperation with the Photonics Research Group [of Ghent University (UGent)] provided a decisive push towards making directional efforts in commercialization of GaSb/SOI technology,” Vizbaras reckons.
“Over the years Brolis has managed to bring GaSb-based laser diode technology to an industrial level with beyond state-of-the-art device performance and scale,” comments Dr Andreas De Groote, who is to lead the design effort for the photonic integrated circuit technology at the new location. “The next big step is to merge these GaSb chips as key components with photonic integrated circuit technology based on CMOS-compatible silicon-on-insulator technology. Moreover, we should bring it to an industrial level, suitable for consumer market applications,” he adds.
“While silicon photonics has predominantly been studied for optical transceivers, there are fantastic opportunities in the field of sensing as well,” says professor Gunther Roelkens of the Photonics Research Group at UGent–imec. “The combination of GaSb III-V optoelectronics and silicon photonics can enable many applications in this domain,” he adds.
“This investment testifies to the strong reputation of Flanders in photonics R&D,” reckons Thomas Castrel, economic counsellor at the Vilnius office of Flanders Investment & Trade, the export and investment promoting agency of the Flemish government (Belgium). “Companies are choosing the Flemish region for R&D activities because of the presence of world-class universities and research institutes combined with a friendly fiscal environment for research driven businesses.”