Roadmapping electronic-photonic systems Featured

Leaders gather for updates from industry, government and academia

Leaders from industry, government, and academia gathered Oct. 10-11, 2019, at the Marriott in Kendall Square to discuss how to bring promising electronic-photonic systems to market at the Integrated Photonics Systems Roadmap-International conference titled, “Breaking through the Commercial Barriers.”

MIT Professor Lionel C. Kimerling organizes integrated photonics roadmap meetings twice a year, in the fall and spring. He has been holding these roadmap meetings at MIT for more than two decades. 

Speakers at the fall meeting included Chief Technologist of Intel’s Connectivity and Data Center Group Uri Cummings, Finisar CTO Martin Zirngibl, and Broadcom Senior Vice President and General Manager Alexis Black Bjorlin. Kimerling said he had never hosted such an august group of presenters. “This year we broadened the focus with CTO-level speakers from fiber-optic cabling to board and package-level integration,” said Kimerling, the Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “We had outstanding presentations, panel discussions, and interactions among participants. Attendees were able to learn about the latest developments in the field.”

The meeting addressed several timely application-oriented themes:

• Near-term consolidation of integrated photonics as a manufacturing-ready industry guided by an organizing body that ratifies comprehensive standards for global adoption.

• The narrowing timeline from research to manufacturing, and how this continued pace is encouraging large-scale investment. 

• How software tools should increasingly draw on a library of calibrated device components to prime rapid simulation of application-specific photonic integrated circuits.

More than 97% of attendees who filled out a post-meeting survey described their experience as positive or extremely positive, with 65% describing it as extremely positive. In the survey, attendees complimented the quality of speakers, the involvement of leading companies, the range of topics covered, and the frank discussions about the viability and outlook of the technology. They also appreciated the chance to network during breaks, lunches, and at a networking reception.

Roadmap participants meet weekly, and over the years have gathered input from close to 1,000 experts from around the world to compile a 400-plus page report that maps out the need for technology and application development in the short term up to five years and long term from 10 to 20 years. The organizers released a new 2020 overview of the roadmap at the fall meeting. The overview can be downloaded here.

In 2020, Dr. Sajan Saini PhD ’04, who is a former student of Kimerling, is now developing education material for the next generation of integrated photonic engineers, and he will begin work on an education roadmap for the industry. The education roadmap will be closely tied to the technology roadmap, and will help guide which education initiatives MIT should promote to help the industry continue to grow.

The roadmap is a constantly evolving document, and the new overview includes a feedback form for submissions.

back to newsletterJulie Diop | Materials Research Laboratory