Parallel Heterogeneous Integration of III-V Devices on Silicon Photonic Chips

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Inst of Photonics

Abstract

Photonics is one of the largest and fasted growing markets of the world economy. Optical technologies are key to a vast range of applications from telecommunications networks to sensor and metrology equipment and are being actively developed by industrial giants such as IBM, Intel and Cisco.

In a similar way to the evolution experienced by electronics, the demand for photonics devices with smaller footprint, lower cost and higher functionality has propelled the rapid development of integrated "photonics chips". Thanks to the legacy provided by decades of enormous investments in the electronic industry, silicon is rapidly becoming the standard material platform for photonic integrated chips. However, because of its crystalline structure, silicon is a very poor light emitter and, therefore, truly integrated devices that can emit, process and detect light on-chip still represent a major challenge. III-V semiconductor materials such as InP or GaAs provide far better performance in terms of light emission but cannot compete with silicon in terms of large volume manufacturing and cost. Combining the "best from the two worlds", i.e. heterogeneously integrating III-V light emitters on a silicon material platform, is regarded as a promising solution to circumvent the deficiencies of silicon yet keeping compatibility with industrial silicon manufacturing paradigms to allow scaling to wafer level complex products without requiring a full retooling of the supply chain.

Building on established expertise in photonic integrated devices and transfer printing technologies at Glasgow and Strathclyde universities, this proposal will develop an assembly technique to integrate active III-V membrane devices onto passive silicon photonic integrated circuits. The method will demonstrate parallel transfer of multiple devices with sub-micrometer positional accuracy and scalability to wafer-level production. The developed techniques will exploit fully back-end processes, making them compatible with current foundry standards and therefore commercial interests. Key demonstrators in optical communications, gas sensing and high density data storage will be developed to illustrate the flexibility of the methods and potential across a wide range of application spaces.

The project will benefit from the support from several academic and industrial partners who will provide resources and expertise in key areas such as wafer-scale manufacturing of III-V optical devices (CST), transfer printing system engineering (Fraunhofer), optical transceivers for telecomm and datacentre markets (Huawei), micro-assembly of active/passive photonic systems (Kaiam), integrated photonic devices for HDD data storage (Seagate), mid-IR gas sensors (GSS), large-scale silicon photonics devices (Southampton University).

The proposal aligns with EPSRC's Manufacturing the Future theme and the Photonics for Future Systems priority, and addresses specific portfolio areas such as Manufacturing Technologies, Optical Communications, Optical Devices & Subsystems, Optoelectronic Devices & Circuits, Components & Systems
 
Description The focus of this project is the integration of planar optical devices from different material wafers into single systems, harnessing expertise in hybrid device integration at the University of Strathclyde and nanofabrication capabilities at the University of Glasgow. The key findings so far can be summarised as:
i) Design and fabrication of robust III-V semiconductor membranes for printing onto host substrates
ii) Design and fabrication of silicon microring membrane devices through micro assembly
iii) Development of novel alignment procedures that enable printing position accuracy of <100nm for a range of single devices including membranes, resonators and nanowire lasers
iv) Statistical analysis of devices printed using serial and parallel print processes.
iv) Demonstration of hybrid material optical device integration, in particular, III-V AlGaAs and diamond micro-resonators integrated with silicon photonic integrated circuits
v) Demonstration of optical non-linearity in transfer printed AlGaAs micro-resonators on silicon
vi) Demonstration of parameter and spatial binning of NW laser devices
Exploitation Route This transfer of membrane waveguide optics opens up a whole new class of hybrid optical devices for applications across a wide range of disciplines from quantum optics to biomedical sensing. Our findings will enable new devices to be designed by the wider optics community that were not previously possible. IP protection is being filed on the transfer printing alignment processes. Exploitation plans for this IP are being developed with partners Fraunhofer UK.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description 'Hetero-print': A holistic approach to transfer-printing for heterogeneous integration in manufacturing
Amount £5,541,652 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R03480X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 05/2023
 
Description Parallel Micro-assembly of Quantum Cascade Lasers on Germanium (Future Photonics Hub Innovation Fund)
Amount £54,108 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Title Nanoscale alignment for transfer printing 
Description Using optical alignment correlation techniques a method was developed to align structures on different material membranes to better than 100nm accuracy using a direct print tool. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A journal paper is in preparation on this technique. It will underpin the next stage goals of the project. 
 
Title Data for All-optical tuning of a diamond micro-disk resonator on silicon 
Description 10.15129/a5cf064c-1e69-4a46-b688-4472945befc8 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None currently 
URL https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/datasets/data-for-all-optical-tuning-of-a-diamond-micro-disk-reso...
 
Title Data for: "High accuracy transfer printing of single-mode membrane silicon photonic devices" 
Description "Data sets corresponding to figures in article contribution for optics express titled above. Files details available in the readme file. Data embargo 05/07/18" 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact
 
Title Data for: "Hybrid integration of an evanescently coupled AlGaAs micro-disk resonator with a silicon waveguide by nanoscale-accurate transfer printing" 
Description "Dataset related to the submission: Hybrid integration of an evanescently coupled AlGaAs micro-disk resonator with a silicon waveguide by nanoscale-accurate transfer printing. All the data can be read using Microsoft Office. Further details on the individual figures are available from the README file provided. " 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact
 
Title Data for: "Nanoscale accurate heterogeneous integration of waveguide devices by transfer printing" 
Description "Dataset corresponding to measured optical transmission spectrum of all-pass filters (figures 2.a and b) of the IEEE Photonics Conference 2018 submission. Data embargo until 04/10/18" 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact
 
Title Data set for Characterisation, selection and micro-assembly of nanowire laser systems 
Description "Data sets corresponding to figures in article contribution for Nano Letters titled above. Files details available in the readme file. " 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None currently 
URL https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/datasets/data-for-characterisation-selection-and-micro-assembly-o...
 
Title Data set for Transfer printing of AlGaAs-on-SOI micro-disk resonators for selective mode coupling and low-power non-linear processes 
Description "Data sets corresponding to figures in article contribution for optics letters titled above. Files details available in the readme file. " 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None currently 
URL https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/datasets/data-for-transfer-printing-of-algaas-on-soi-micro-disk-r...
 
Description Collaboration with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics 
Organisation Fraunhofer Society
Department Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A novel nanoscale alignment technique for direct transfer printing was developed by the University of Strathclyde. Through joint studentship funding with the Fraunhofer CAP, this capability was developed into an accessible computer controlled system to allow all users of the facility access to the technique.
Collaborator Contribution Fraunhofer CAP provided studentship funding, supervisory time and expertise in automated systems.
Impact The outcome of this stage of the collaboration was an accessible computer controlled system for high accuracy printing alignment.
Start Year 2017