What Does PIC Success Look Like?
Intel announced that it is shipping at a run rate of over 1 million 100G transceivers per year, using technology based on silicon photonics, and the rate will increase going forward. For years—decades really, using different terminology—we heard the question "when will silicon photonics take off?" And "Which flavor of integrated photonics will it be: InP or Si?" We don't hear those questions anymore. Infinera was established years ago as an InP integrated photonics manufacturer. Now Intel joins Luxtera as a prominent supplier using silicon photonics. Cisco can make that claim too, particularly with its acquisition of Luxtera, not to mention the notable achievements of other suppliers.
The question should be: what does success look like? Is it when there is one established volume supplier? Two? Three? When there is a volume application other than communications? When we stop asking the question?
This was part of the discussion at the OIDA Workshop on Manufacturing and Building the Supply Chain for Integrated Photonics, on 3 March 2019, collocated at OFC 2019 in San Diego. The event brought together stakeholders to identify the bottlenecks in the supply chain that are impeding manufacturers from getting their products to market.
Left: Ficontec automated fiber attachment station at AIM Photonics Institute. Source: Prof. Stefan Preble (RIT), at OIDA workshop. Right: Attendees at the Workshop
There was some talk that integrated photonics is 25 to 30 years behind silicon electronics in the maturity of the supply chain, but this misses the point. If there is an apt analogy it is with RF electronics, which has similar challenges of market fragmentation as integrated photonics. And it's no surprise: both face fragmented markets that lack volume manufacturing and standardization.
The so-called gap between electronics and photonics could collapse rapidly if there were a volume application or an immensely compelling need. An industry trend toward co-packaged optics for 51-Tbps switches could be such a need, and indeed Facebook and Microsoft launched the Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) Collaboration on 15 March 2019 to move that along. Even so, the perceived benefits might be limited to the volume application and a few lucky others. Some applications may still require novel designs that defy standardized processes, just as RF electronics does today.
Meanwhile, OIDA thinks we are seeing success. What do you think? Send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Optical Communications Report from OFC 2019
OFC is so big and energetic it's hard to summarize. With over 15,000 attendees and nearly 700 exhibitors, everyone can have a different takeaway. Here are some of ours, from the OIDA Executive Forum and OFC 2019, in San Diego 8-12 March.
- 400G is happening. 400G ports are being deployed in data centers, only three years after 100G went into volume production. What's next? There's talk that 800G samples could come as soon as next year. And after 800G? There's talk of 1.6T, maybe by 2024, maybe sooner, but it will require new co-packaging technology.
- 5G is also happening. The country of San Marino is the first to have full 5G wireless deployment. Investment in 5G started a few years ago with the acquisition of spectrum, but now equipment is being deployed by major carriers. The question is whether carriers will continue to invest in 5G if they don't see associated growth in revenue. (For an entertaining takedown of buzzwords like 5G and AI, see here.)
- India, too. Reliance Jio isn't the largest mobile provider in India, but it achieved 100 million subscribers less than 6 months after launching the company. There are more 4G subscribers in India than people in South America, but services sell for dollars per month, much less than in the U.S.
- Is the China market soft? Maybe not. Light Counting provided some evidence at its evening event that the China market is not as soft as is perceived.
- Quantum communicatons is now commercial. At the OIDA Executive Forum, John Prisco explained how Quantum Xchange is deploying quantum key distribution services to customers. Lily Chen of NIST explained how "post-quantum" algorithms are resistant to easy solutions for both classical and upcoming quantum computers. Future networks will need both quantum and post-quantum cryptography to be fully safe; neither provides a complete solution.
- Some clouds on the horizon? Recent acquisitions leave some wondering what will happen next, such as divestitures of commodity products, or even layoffs. And indeed, on 4 March Lumentum announced the sale of some of its transceiver business (here). Expect more of that.
Ethernet Alliance interoperability demonstration.
There was much more, such as talk about integrated photonics, and not just at the Sunday OIDA workshop, and not just for optical communications. There was the PIC workshop organized by 7 Pennies and OIDA, a session on PICs for LIDAR moderatred by Global Foundries, and a conference panel discussion on commercial access to PIC foundries.
U.S. President Proposes Deep Cuts to Science, Higher Visa Fees
The summary version of U.S. President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request to Congress, which is normally made available during the first week of February, was released on 11 March. The delay was likely due to the 35-day partial government shutdown, at least in part. More detailed budget justifications for each agency, as they are called, became available throughout the following week.
As anticipated, large cuts were proposed across a wide swath of government programs and science was not excepted. Few government agencies saw increases, although certain programs within agencies did. While cutting many programs, the White House, following a February 2019 statement, did place priority and therefore increased support for several broad areas of research and technology: artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science and 5G.
OSA issued a statement of concern on 11 March about the budget request. "At a time when other nations are moving forward with critical high technology research investments, the Administration's proposed budget cuts for science risk ceding U.S. leadership across a wide range of basic and applied research," said 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson. "We strongly urge Congress to increase funding for science and reaffirm the nation's commitment to a robust domestic science enterprise. History shows that U.S. government support for basic research is fundamental to our economic development, our health and overall standard of living and our national security."
In the previous two fiscal years the President proposed similarly massive cuts to science spending. These proposed cuts did not materialize after Congress' action in early 2018 to lift the so-called "budget caps" which would otherwise significantly limit its ability to spend on all government programs through a mechanism called sequestration. Advocacy by many, including OSA, was successful in convincing Congress to take action. Lawmakers followed up their efforts by strongly supporting science funding in FY2018 and FY2019.
In FY2020, however, this legislative relief expires and Congress must act again to avoid these budget limitations. OSA has again partnered with its sister societies in campaigns such as Raise The Caps and coalition letters to urge Congress to act and fund research and development across the entire U.S. federal enterprise.
It is said in Washington, D.C. that "the President proposes and Congress disposes" the annual budget request. Support for funding science, generally, is strong in Congress, and if lawmakers manage to lift its budget limits then science programs, on average, should expect to see increases.
Notably, the budget request also calls for doubling H-1B visa application fees. The standard fee would increase from US$ 1,500 to US$ 3,000 and, for employers with 25 or fewer employees, from US$ 750 to US$ 1,500. Fifteen per cent of revenues would be steered to the Career and Technical Education (CTE) State grants program. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are called out specifically.
The budget also provides funding to support among other activities the Department of Commerce's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in its ongoing review of "emerging and foundational technologies" in the context of new export control rules.
For questions please contact David Lang at email@example.com.
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Welcome New OIDA Members
Registration Open: OSA Applied Industrial Optics Topical Meeting
8 — 10 July 2019
The Optical Society Headquarters, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Join industry leaders at OSA Applied Industrial Optics (AIO), where professionals from diverse backgrounds gather and discuss photonics research, technology development, and commercialization. Here, you can stay up to date on the latest advances in photonics technology. AIO creates an engaging multi-disciplinary program that encourages the sharing of ideas and generates cross-pollination across fields. Through workshops, tutorials, panel discussions and networking events, AIO gives you unprecedented access to industry experts and valuable insight into today's commercial climate.
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OIDA Forum on Optics in Autonomy: Registration is Now Open
27 June 2019 — San Jose, CA, USA
This new business development event will match leaders of transport applications needing new solutions with early-stage technologies. Applications are specifically in autonomous vehicles, such as cars, trucks, delivery vehicles, campus shuttle buses, delivery drones, and so forth. Technologies include LIDAR and other imaging subsystems, adaptive illumination systems, sensor fusion, and the in-vehicle optical data transmission and networking systems that link the subsystems together.
Join experts from leading companies and learn effective best practices, create new solutions for common industry challenges and gain the connections and technical education you need to drive your company—and your career—forward in the evolving autonomous vehicles market.
This event will cover all the hottest topics in sensing transport applications.
- What is needed from the photonics industry? Which are the problems that optics and photonics can have the greatest impact on?
- What are the enabling technologies that have the most promise?
- What are the bottlenecks or "showstoppers" among photonics technologies today, and potential solutions?
OIDA's Forum on Optics in Autonomy will be held in conjunction with the OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress and the Sensors Expo & Conference, which is the largest gathering of engineers and engineering professionals involved in sensors and sensing-related technologies. The 2019 Sensors Expo & Conference will host 300+ exhibitors on the Expo Floor. Your OIDA Forum on Optics in Autonomy registration fee includes admission to the Sensors Expo Exhibit Hall. There is an additional registration fee for the Sensors Conference technical program and for the OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress should you also to decide to attend those events.
Learn more and register by 3 June to save.
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Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award
Nominations for the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award are due 10 July. This is a great opportunity to highlight the value and importance of engineering teams! 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.
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OIDA (OSA Industry Development Associates) Council
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
• Claudio Mazzali,
Corning Research &
Development Corp, Chair
• Simin Cai,
Go!Foton, Chair Elect
• John Dexheimer,
LightWave Advisors, Inc.
• Turan Erdogan,
• Amy Eskilson,
• Christoph S. Harder,
• Inge Kabert,
• Frederick J. Leonberger,
EOvation Advisors LLC
• Debbie Wilson,
Lumentum Operations Inc.