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Authors: W. Bogaerts, A. Rahim
Title: Programmable Photonics: An Opportunity for an Accessible Large-Volume PIC Ecosystem
Format: International Journal
Publication date: 3/2020
Journal/Conference/Book: IEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (invited)
Volume(Issue): 26(5) p.8302517
DOI: 10.1109/JSTQE.2020.2982980
Citations: 51 ( - last update: 7/7/2024)
31 (OpenCitations - last update: 27/6/2024)
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We look at the opportunities presented by the new concepts of generic programmable photonic integrated circuits (PIC) to deploy photonics on a larger scale. Programmable PICs consist of waveguide meshes of tunable couplers and phase shifters that can be reconfigured in software to define diverse functions and arbitrary connectivity between the input and output ports. Off-the-shelf programmable PICs can dramatically shorten the development time and deployment costs of new photonic products, as they bypass the design-fabrication cycle of a custom PIC. These chips, which actually consist of an entire technology stack of photonics, electronics packaging and software, can potentially be manufactured cheaper and in larger volumes than application-specific PICs. We look into the technology requirements of these generic programmable PICs and discuss the economy of scale. Finally, we make a qualitative analysis of the possible application spaces where generic programmable PICs can play an enabling role, especially to companies who do not have an in-depth background in PIC technology.

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