The Semiconductor Roadmap is Dead! What Does This Mean for Photonics?
In case you didn't notice, the famous semiconductor roadmap is dead. It's a sign that the decades-long march toward smaller feature sizes and higher density pinouts is near an end, at least as a public roadmap. Companies like Intel are free to continue the march, and 3D integration extends Moore's Law a little further, but the signs are there: the long run is mostly over.
The roadmap—officially the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)—was the "mother of all roadmaps" for its extreme detail and relentless cadence for much of the industry. The first roadmap was published in 1992 as a U.S. industry reaction to the increasing cost of developing fabrication tools for the semiconductor industry. With the industry increasingly dis-integrated, the roadmap allowed suppliers and customers to coordinate to reduce the investment risk to develop next-generation tools. The roadmap effort went international in 1998, and published its last revision in 2013, 21 years after its first report. The legacy continues as ITRS 2.0. It focuses on applications, rather than the sheer technology advancement of Moore's Law. And iNEMI manages the roadmapping for the backend packaging and board-level electronics, including optoelectronics. iNEMI was formed in 1995 and went international in 2003.
The semiconductor roadmap was a wonderful document, but too unique to emulate to the same detail in most other industries. Too many in the photonics industry hold it up as a model to which our industry should aspire, but it's
The mirror does not lie: Gordon Moore’s reflection appears to be crying over the end of Moore’s Law.
naïve to try to achieve that level of detail. The semiconductor industry is over $300 billion in annual sales, orders of magnitude greater than comparable segments of the photonics industry. Moreover, the roadmap mainly applied to a relatively homogeneous device type: digital memory, microprocessors, and ASICs all using CMOS designs. Analog electronics and integrated photonics are very different: they include a wide array of device types and processing technologies. Photonics even encompasses multiple material systems: silicon, silica, GaAs, InP, lithium niobate. And, digital CMOS design and fabrication are decoupled, leading to thriving businesses in fabless design and foundry manufacturing. This is far from the case in integrated photonics.
The death of the ITRS goes hand-in-hand with the end of Moore's Law. On-chip optical interconnects were mentioned in the roadmap as possible solutions beyond the famous "Red Brick Wall," but were never selected as an inevitable technology. An on-chip optical solution is still a possibility, but seems increasingly unlikely. At the least, it will have to be outside of the ITRS roadmap as we used to know it.
The Next Big Thing: Photoacoustic Imaging
It now appears that photoacoustic imaging will be the Next Big Thing in optical imaging. It's a wonderful technology, offering the resolution of acoustics but with the contrast of optics. But companies are rushing to get there first: U.S. patents in the topic have surged in the last few years. Patent submissions are led mostly by the big imaging companies: Canon, Philips, GE, Siemens, and Fujifilm. But there are many small companies conducting clinical studies toward photoacoustic-based products. And it was the focus of companies in OIDA's startup pitch panel luncheon at OSA's BIOMED Congress, held in Fort Lauderdale 27 April.
The chart shows the U.S. National Institute of Health investment in photoacoustic imaging over the ten years beginning in 2006. NIH invested nearly $130 million across 14 of its institutes. Most of the funding went to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
More information on the emerging market of photoacoustic imaging in the May installment of the OIDA Market Update.
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New Laser Applications Conference is Now Accepting Submissions
The Laser Applications Conference (LAC) is a new industry conference on laser applications at the OSA Lasers Congress which will be held in Boston, MA, US, 30 October — 4 November 2016. The 2016 conference will focus on High Intensity Lasers for Applications. Materials Processing will include advanced applications for industrial use. High Intensity Lasers for Applications will include applications in defense, scientific research, and energy markets. The program will be made up primarily of invited speakers and will include several market-focused sessions. Submissions are also being encouraged. One of the themes of this meeting will be intimate discussions on what engineering and production advances are needed to translate promising technological advances into marketable products. Submissions will be accepted through 28 June for this new industry conference. View the timeline and read the submission guidelines. Mark your calendar to attend.
Write the Future and Win $500
Have you dreamed of walking on Mars? Now you can with VR googles! Tell us your vision of the optics-enabled future. Enter the "Write the Future" story contest by submitting a fictional story (300 to 500 words) by 30 June 2016. Selected winner(s) will have his/her story published in Optics & Photonics News. First place winner will receive a cash prize of $500 and a free trip to FiO, OSA's 100th Annual Meeting, 17-21 October in Rochester, NY, USA, where the winner will be recognized. Learn more.
Ray Kurzweil and Steven Chu on June 8 at CLEO
Join OSA as we celebrate our 100th anniversary with the Light The Future speaker series at CLEO featuring Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, futurist, with Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, OSA Fellow, on Wednesday, 8 June 2016, The San Jose Convention Center, Grand Ballroom, 18:30 — 20:00 PDT.
The 21st century is an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy, and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, celebrated futurist Ray Kurzweil presents an inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny in which we will merge with our machines, can radically extend our lives, and are vastly more intelligent. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP: LightTheFuture@osa.org.
Light Years Ahead: Innovators Illuminate the Future of Imaging and Applied Optics in Industry and Medicine
Joseph Izatt, Duke University, and Bernard Kress, Microsoft
Imaging & Applied Optics Congress
26 July 2016
18:30 — 20:00
Optical technologies have a rich history of applications in medicine, from the invention of eyeglasses and optical microscopes to the latest developments in automated laser surgery and fluorescence-based genome sequencing/genotyping technologies. Virtual and Augmented Reality products have been in development for decades and are finally showing promise for a myriad of applications. Join OSA for its Light the Future Speaker Series with entrepreneurs Joseph Izatt and Bernard Kress as they explore the future of imaging and applied optics.
Call for Nominations — Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award
Team nominations for the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award are due 2 July. This is a great opportunity to showcase the value and importance of engineer teams! Named in memory of Paul F. Forman, the award recognizes technical achievements such as product engineering, process and software development, and patent development, as well as contributions to society such as engineering education, publication and management, and furthering public appreciation of optical engineering. Submit your team nominations by 2 July 2016. The awards will be presented in October during Frontiers in Optics 2016, OSA's 100th Annual Meeting. Recent winners include: Logic Analysis Tool Team (LAT Team), Intel Silicon Photonics Solutions Group, ZygoLOT Automotive Precision Optical Team, and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Lidar Team.
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Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
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