In this work, Freedom Photonics will team with University of California, Santa Barbara to develop a hybrid integration platform that integrates yielded, best-of-breed active optical components with low-cost, high functionality Silicon Photonics components in a manner that is compatible with foundry fabrication (such as AIM Photonics). This will be performed in a highly manufacturable manner, using passively aligned pick-and-place technology to place the semiconductor components on the interposer substrate to form a system in package-type of integration platform for photonic space applications. Using our novel 3D hybrid integration approach developed at UCSB, an integration technology that is scalable, low cost, reliable, and that demonstrates superior thermal performance is realized. The approach is based on flip-chip bonding and vertical coupling between InP and silicon waveguides.
This proposed work will make space science and exploration more effective, affordable, and sustainable in that it will enable low cost and low SWaP technologies for space communications, freeing up resources for other onboard systems. The PIC technology will also better utilize the high bandwidth afforded by optics and scale readily to higher data rates. This technology will allow more frequent and lower cost missions and allow for incorporating free space laser modems on smaller satellites (ex. cubesats) and small craft (ex. drones).
The developed miniaturized photonic integrated components will find application in emerging commercial markets such as
Optical fiber sensor systems,
Optical links such as hybrid fiber-wireless systems,
Non-invasive medical optical sensing and imaging,
Chip-scale integrated systems and subsystems for large data centers and supercomputers.