N&M Key Technology: Modular Four-in-One Silicon Photonics Chip

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Recognizing the advantages of silicon photonics technology, including high integration and high-speed transmission, Taiwan Nano & Micro-Photonics, an IOC design company specializing in silicon photonics sensing, has successfully developed the world's first CMOS silicon photonics chip for mid-to-long-wave infrared light in a four-in-one chip product module. The focus is on enabling a single device to detect multiple human physiological signals, aiming for faster and more effective system integration compared to existing products in the market, thus strengthening their competitive advantage.

The small chip, capable of detecting various human physiological signals, harnesses the highly integrated, high-speed transmission, energy-efficient, and multifunctional characteristics of silicon photonics technology, making it applicable across a wide range of fields. Taiwan Nano & Micro-Photonics, with contributions from industry, government, and academia, has achieved this milestone in developing the CMOS silicon photonics chip for mid-to-long-wave infrared light in a four-in-one chip module.

Kun-Yu Chang, Chairman of Taiwan Nano & Micro-Photonics' silicon photonics sensing IOC design, emphasized, "We can fully demonstrate how silicon photonics integrates with silicon electronics because we have separated the software firmware of silicon electronics and silicon photonics, and integrated all applications together to become a comprehensive solution company. We also propose a single-crystal multi-functional solution, and this year is expected to be a year of significant achievements for us."

Observing the potential for the new silicon photonics product to replace traditional compound semiconductors, integrate multiple functions on a single chip, and adopt Si-CMOS processes, the goal is to achieve cost advantages and price competitiveness for the product.

Digital health was a hot topic at CES 2024, and in the consumer health sector, silicon photonics chips can be applied to health checks, disease diagnosis, and monitoring physiological parameters. In attendance at the announcement were the head of the business section of the American Institute in Taiwan, Xie Beiqing, and Dr. Ching-Fuh Lin, the father of silicon light sensing.

Dr. Ching-Fuh Lin, a distinguished professor at National Taiwan University, commented, "We have developed a silicon photonics technology for mid-infrared light sources and silicon chips for detecting a very wide range of wavelengths. These have already been combined with industry for mass production. The explosive potential of the future market is significant, and the market for health and biochemical sensing alone is expected to be worth several billion US dollars. By 2032, it is projected to grow to approximately 50 billion US dollars in less than a decade."

Continuous breakthroughs in semiconductor technology empower domestic silicon photonics sensing chip designers to expand applications in functions such as optoelectronic conversion and rapid spectrum signal processing, with expectations of broadening application areas in the future. (Reported by Cao Zailin and Ke Sian, Taipei)

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