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Authors: W. Bogaerts
Title: Programmable Photonics
Format: International Conference Presentation
Publication date: 5/2024
Journal/Conference/Book: Norwegian Electro-Optics Meeting (invited)
Location: Oscarsborg, Norway
Citations: Look up on Google Scholar
Download: Download this Publication (450KB) (450KB)


In the past decades, photonic integrated circuits have become entrenched as a key enabling technology for fibre-optic communication. They make it possible to integrate a combination of optical and electrical functions on the surface of a chip, which can be fabricated with the same technologies used for microelectronics. But just like electronic chips have found applications in many more domains than computing, we expect photonic chips to find their way into very diverse application fields, such as sensors, lidar, free-space communication, microwave signal processing and biomedical diagnostics.
One aspect in which photonic chip technology is less advanced than its electronics counterpart is programmability: photonic chips today are fabricated for a single purpose, and each new iteration or experiment needs a new chip design. By making photonic chips programmable, like we know from field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) in digital electronics, we can accelerate the development and innovation cycles, opening up the capabilities of photonic chips to a much broader engineering community.
We will discuss the state of programmable photonics today, the results of recent expertiments at Ghent University – IMEC, and where the key challenges are to realize the technology platforms that can truly enable multi-purpose photonic processors.

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