Silicon photonics promises to deliver cheaper optical components using equipment, processes and fabrication plants paid for by the chip industry. Now, it turns out, traditional optical component players using indium phosphide and gallium arsenide can benefit from similar economies, thanks to the wireless IC chip industry.
Silicon photonics did a good thing; it turned the interest of the photonics industry to the operational ways of silicon
So argues Valery Tolstikhin, head of a design consultancy and former founder and CTO of Canadian start-up OneChip Photonics. The expectations for silicon photonics may still to be fulfilled, says Tolstikhin, but what the technology has done is spark interest in the economics of component making. And when it comes to chip economics, volumes count.