An interesting development was announced yesterday in the photonics world. In what appears to be a first of its kind, at least commercially, Skorpios announced a monolithic tunable laser – CMOS and 3/5 bits on the same chip. This eliminates the need to have the circuitry on one chip and then drive that into a separate chip that does the lasing, with obvious integration and efficiency benefits.
Skorpios does custom photonic work for its strategic investors, and in doing this process development, they have put together what amount to photonic standard cells; they talk about opening up an ASIC-like capability for integrated photonics. While it’s possible they could consider licensing out these cells in the future, that’s not their plan now, so for the most part, the cell capability benefits them internally as they take on custom projects and deliver monolithic results.
The real question, though, is what they did to make this feasible and commercially viable. And detailed answers on that are not forthcoming yet. More disclosure is planned, and I hope to be able to talk more about how they got their results at that time.
You can get more on the current level of released information from their press release.