Silicon photonics has developed into a mainstream technology driven by advances in optical communications. The current generation has led to a proliferation of integrated photonic devices from thousands to millions-mainly in the form of communication transceivers for data centers. Products in many exciting applications, such as sensing and computing, are around the corner. What will it take to increase the proliferation of silicon photonics from millions to billions of units shipped? What will the next generation of silicon photonics look like? What are the common threads in the integration and fabrication bottlenecks that silicon photonic applications face, and which emerging technologies can solve them? This perspective article is an attempt to answer such questions. We chart the generational trends in silicon photonics technology, drawing parallels from the generational definitions of CMOS technology. We identify the crucial challenges that must be solved to make giant strides in CMOS-foundry-compatible devices, circuits, integration, and packaging. We identify challenges critical to the next generation of systems and applicationsâ€”in communication, signal processing, and sensing. By identifying and summarizing such challenges and opportunities, we aim to stimulate further research on devices, circuits, and systems for the silicon photonics ecosystem.
Related Research Topics