Breaking the Barrier on Optical Integration (BBOI)
Breaking the Barrier on Optical Integration
Start date: Sep 1, 2013,
End date: Aug 31, 2016
Photonic technologies enable today to generate, manipulate and detect photons by means of miniaturized devices integrated onto the same optical chip. However, compared to electronics, photonics still lacks essential tools enabling the aggregation of hundreds of functionalities into large scale circuits, this hindering its full exploitation in many applicative domains. The BBOI project aims to break this limitation, boosting the complexity of photonic architectures well beyond the state of the art, but without increasing power consumption in proportion.A full-optioned multifunctional silicon photonic platform will be developed integrating on board novel sensor and actuator technologies for a reliable real-time monitoring, tuning and reconfiguration of the circuit behaviour. Lighpaths will be inspected in strategic points of the circuit through novel non-perturbative probes capable to sense the light inside optical waveguides without wasting any single photon. Photon routing will be achieved by using power-saving actuators exploiting resistive switching materials used in electronic non-volatile memories, but never explored in the optical domain. The vast technology equipment of the BBOI platform will be harnessed and controlled by a never conceptualized algorithmic intelligence, enabling a multitude of devices to be concurrently steered to the desired working point.BBOI success will make photonics to penetrate deeply in various ICT areas where conventional technologies are approaching their performance limits. For instance, the huge scaling of information transmitted and routed through data centres and super computing architectures is pushing multi-core electronic parallelization to collide against unsustainable power consumption. Large scale photonic circuits will also enable demonstrations of quantum processors, solving an important class of problems that are more efficiently solved using quantum processors than even the fastest class of modern supercomputer.
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