New breakthrough in the field of high-performance photonic chips! Chinese researchers develop new type of \”optical silicon\”

According to a research paper published in the well-known journal \”Nature\” on Wednesday (8th), Chinese researchers have successfully developed a new type of \”optical silicon\” that can be mass-produced. A team from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology used lithium tantalate heterogeneous Breakthrough progress has been made in the fields of integrated wafers and high-performance photonic chip equipment.

According to a research paper published in the well-known journal \”Nature\” on Wednesday (8th), Chinese researchers have successfully developed a new type of \”optical silicon\” that can be mass-manufactured. A team from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology used lithium tantalate heterogeneous integrated wafers. and breakthroughs in the field of high-performance photonic chip equipment.
China\’s \”Science and Technology Daily\” reported that as the development of the integrated circuit industry enters the \”post-Moore era\”, it is increasingly difficult and costly to improve the performance of integrated circuit wafers, and there is an urgent need to find new technical solutions.
Integrated optoelectronics technology, represented by silicon photonics technology and thin film lithium niobate photonics technology, is a disruptive technology to deal with this bottleneck. Among them, lithium niobate (LiNbO3) is known as \”optical silicon\” and has attracted widespread attention in recent years, including Harvard University and other foreign research The organization even proposed a plan to build a new generation of \”Lithium Niobate Valley\” based on the \”Silicon Valley\” model.
The heterogeneous integrated silicon-based lithium niobate platform is a physical carrier for the development of multi-functional microelectronic chips and can be widely used in 5G/6G communication radio frequency filter chips, photonic chips in data centers in the era of large language models (LLM), and high-performance ferroelectric storage chips. Institutions such as Harvard University and Quantum Chip have also set off a new wave of information technology by relying on thin-film lithium niobate heterogeneous integration technology.
Ou Xin, the co-corresponding author of the paper and a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Microsystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that research with Tobias Kippenberg\’s team at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland has proven that single-crystal lithium tantalate films also have excellent electro-optical conversion properties and are even better than lithium niobate in some aspects. Has advantages.
More importantly, the process technology of lithium silicate-based heterogeneous wafers is closer to the silicon-on-insulator wafer process technology. Therefore, lithium tantalate films can achieve low-cost and large-scale manufacturing and have extremely high application value.
Ou Xin also pointed out that the lithium tantalate film has a wider transparent window, strong electro-optical modulation, weak birefringence, and stronger photorefractive resistance. This innate material advantage greatly expands the optical design freedom of the lithium tantalate platform.
In addition, the lithium tantalate photonic chip exhibits extremely low optical loss and high-efficiency electro-optical conversion and is expected to provide solutions to break through the four major bottlenecks of speed, power consumption, frequency and bandwidth in the communication field, and in low-temperature quantum, optical computing, optical communications, etc. The field has spawned revolutionary technologies.
Shanghai New Silicon Polymer Semiconductor Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the scientific research team of the Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology, has the mass production capacity of thin-film lithium tantalate heterogeneous wafers and has successfully broken through the 8-inch wafer process technology for domestic optoelectronic integrated wafers and mobile terminal RF The larger-scale development of filter wafers has laid the foundation for core materials.
In addition, some cities in China have shown strong potential and strength in the field of photonic chips. Wuhan, Xi\’an, Suzhou, and Wuxi are known as the four \”photonic cities.\” For example, Wuhan was the first city in the country to plan and layout the optoelectronic industry base, and it is also the country\’s photonics city. The leading pioneer and industrial highland of the industry.
The local area is accelerating the layout of the photonics industry with the construction of \”China Optics Valley\” as a guide. The total number of photonics industry entities has exceeded 191,000 households and the world\’s largest optical fiber and cable industry base has been built. In the future, it will build a \”China Optics Valley\” based on optoelectronic information technology and deeply integrate future industries with the economy and society. The Valley of Optics of the World\”.

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