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HELIOS launched

CMOS Photonics project HELIOS awarded €8.5m research funding

Grenoble, France: 1 September 2008.

The European Commission (EC) has launched in May 2008 a new CMOS Photonics project within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) theme of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The project HELIOS (pHotonics ELectronics functional Integration on CMOS) gathers 19 European partners and aims at combining a photonic layer with a CMOS circuit by different innovative means. This 4-year project is coordinated by CEA-LETI and has been awarded a grant valued at 8.5 Million Euros [website www.helios-project.eu]

HELIOS will allow to combine a photonic layer with a CMOS circuit by using microelectronics fabrication processes. It will make CMOS photonics accessible to a broad circle of users in a foundry-like, fabless way. The objectives of the project are manifold:

  • Development of high performance generic building blocks for a broad range of applications: WDM sources by III-V/Si heterogeneous integration, fast modulators and detectors, passive circuits and packaging
  • The building and optimization of a complete production chain for complex functional devices. Integration of electronics and photonics in a single chip will be addressed not only at process level but also through the development of an adequate design environment
  • Demonstrating the power of this CMOS photonics production chain through several complex photonic IC’s that address different industrial needs. These include a 40Gb/s modulator, a 10x10 Gb/s transceiver, a Photonic QAM-10Gb/s wireless transmission system and a mixed analog and digital transceiver module for multifunction antennas.
  • Investigating also some more promising but more challenging alternative approaches, such as silicon lasers and amorphous silicon modulators. These concepts offer clear advantages in terms of integration on CMOS for the next generation of Photonic IC’s
  • Road mapping, dissemination and training, to strengthen the European research and industry in this field and to raise awareness of new users about the interest of CMOS Photonics.

A large range of applications

CMOS Photonics is an intensely active research topic that may lead to low-cost solutions for a range of applications: optical communications, optical interconnections between semiconductor chips and circuit boards, optical signal processing, optical sensing, and biological applications. By co-integrating optics and electronics on the same chip, high functionality, high performance and highly integrated devices can be fabricated, while using well mastered microelectronics fabrication process. Another advantage of CMOS photonics is that its success will move the emphasis from the component to the architecture. In other words, industrial and RTD efforts could be focused on new products or new functionalities rather than on the technology level.

The partners involved in the project HELIOS:

- CEA-LETI (France), coordinator

- IMEC (Belgium)

- CNRS (France)

- Alcatel Thales III-V lab (France)

- University of Surrey (UK)

- IMM (Italy)

- University of Paris-Sud (France)

- University of Valencia (Spain)

- University of Trento (Italy)

- University of Barcelona (Spain)

- 3S Photonics (France)

- IHP (Germany)

- University of Berlin (Germany)

- Thales (France)

- DAS Photonics (Spain)

- Austriamicrosystems AG (Austria)

- University of Vienna (Austria)

- Phoenix BV (Netherlands)

- Photline Technologies (France)

Press contacts :
CEA –LETI: Grenoble, France

Laurent Fulbert

+334 38 78 38 45


Clément Moulet

+334 38 78 03 26



HELIOS launched