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MeitY Secretary Shri S. Krishnan launches Silicon Photonics Research Centre of Excellence at IIT Madras


Silicon Photonics is vital for many advanced technologies including 5G & future networks, Quantum Computation, Quantum Key Distribution, Neural Networks & Artificial Intelligence, among others

Posted On: 20 OCT 2023 5:38PM by PIB Chennai

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary Shri S. Krishnan, IAS, launched a state-of-the-art Silicon Photonics Research Centre of Excellence at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras).

Within the next five years, the Silicon Photonics Centre of Excellence, Centre for Programmable Photonic Integrated Circuits and Systems (Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS) is targeting achieving self-sufficiency and driving product commercialization through start-ups.

Besides, high-speed transceiver for data centres, Silicon Photonics Technology is vital for many other advanced technology applications such as Quantum Computation, Quantum Key Distribution, Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence as well as 5G/6G and future networks.

This Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS was inaugurated today (20th Oct 2023) and is all set to play a major role in upcoming years to reduce existing gaps in the country and fulfil the ambitious objectives of India Semiconductor Mission of the Government of India.

This Centre, established with MeitY funding support, will provide essential training to bolster the future ecosystem of Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) manufacturing in India. The CPPICS is actively developing indigenous PIC design rules and hardware infrastructure for precision packaging for system-level applications.

During the event, Shri S. Krishnan also released a commemorative souvenir to mark the momentous occasion and provided his best wishes for the Centre in taking the technology to its full commercialization and starting PIC manufacturing in India. It can be viewed via - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QRwFwaLMhwW_i_iVj1_R4XyZHBuELZQX/view?usp=share_link

The CPPICS was inaugurated in the presence of Smt. Sunita Verma, Group Coordinator (R&D), MeitY, Government of India, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, Prof. Bijoy Krishna Das, Chief Investigator, Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS, IIT Madras, Prof. Nagendra Krishnapura, Head, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras and Dr. Kishore Kamath, Vice President (R&D), Intel Silicon Photonics Product Division, U.S., besides other core faculty members, research scholars and students.

Addressing the inauguration, Shri S. Krishnan, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, said, “Today, we are inaugurating yet another of MeiTY and Government of India’s initiative in IIT Madras. Many of MeitY’s efforts with IIT Madras have been huge successes and I am sure this will also succeed. We have caught up (with rest of the world) and now we should leapfrog others…. This Centre of Excellence complements many things MeitY is trying to do.”

Shri S. Krishnan added, “The fact that there is an insistence and there is a rigour and discipline of bringing in industry participation is very significant. I would like to thank the industry partners, specifically Intel and Si2 Microsystems. This partnership will take us very far, both in terms of developing capacity and ensuring that all of us benefit from it. When we work together, there are larger benefits.”

Further, Shri S. Krishnan said, “There are many students who are present here today. What the Government encourages you to do is to be bolder and more courageous than the previous generation in taking up challenges. Societally and economically, the country has changed to enable you (students) to not go for the safest choice and to make bold choices and go for entrepreneurial activities. There is something that you can give back to society by being completely entrepreneurial in spirit. Please understand that from a Generation ago, many of the boundaries have become permeable and it is easier to switch paths. I wish you all very well. These are centres that are created to primarily have entrepreneurship and research grow and transfer technology to the industry.”

The immediate focus of this CoE is to provide better solutions for microwave and quantum photonics applications such as advanced photonic processors to be used in high-performance RF transceivers, scalable linear optical quantum computing processors for the next generation qubit computation, and chip-level quantum key generation and distribution circuits, among others.

Speaking about this Centre, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “As our country is moving towards building our own capability in semiconductor electronics, it is very heartening to see our Institute establish a Centre of Excellence in Silicon Photonics, which is an outcome of extensive R&D pursued over nearly two decades. The substantial seed funding for establishing this state-of-the-art Silicon Photonics CPPICS by MeitY has helped in consolidation of indigenously-developed Silicon Photonics technology at IIT Madras. I am confident that the Centre is going to impact significantly, both in the domestic as well as global silicon photonics R&D market in the upcoming years.”

The CPPICS is hosted by the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, with a long-term mission for catering R&D in programmable photonic integrated circuits and systems using CMOS-compatible silicon photonics technology for solving various levels of complex problems.

Highlighting the importance of this Centre, Prof. Bijoy Krishna Das, Chief Investigator, Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS, IIT Madras, said, “The Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS is forging critical partnerships including a strongest collaboration with M/s Si2 Microsystems in Bangalore, to deliver state-of-the-art System-in-Package solutions for silicon photonic processor cores. This transformative technology is primed to cater to a wide array of sectors, including quantum computing, quantum communication, 5G/6G communications, IoT, radar and avionics, and more. The nation is looking forward to witnessing the success of CPPICS as it takes this technology to full commercialization and spearheads PIC manufacturing in India. Prof. Das further mentioned that Team CoE-CPPICS has tied-up with Silterra silicon Photonics Foundry, Malaysia for wafer scale yield testing of some novel silicon photonic devices already demonstrated using in-house technology at IIT Madras. The team has also signed a MoU with Keysight USA for joint R&D activities in the area of silicon photonics technology.”

Speaking on the occasion, IIT Madras Alumnus Dr. Kishore Kamath, Vice President (R&D), Intel Silicon Photonics Product Division, U.S., said, “It is great to see a Centre of Excellence on Silicon Photonics coming up at IIT Madras. A core part of Mr. Patrick P. Gelsinger’s (CEO of Intel) vision for Intel is making the company a leader in the upcoming new market, which is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. A taskforce he set up to look into the areas to invest in these two fields identified Silicon Photonics... All AI applications demand a high density of data management, moving data from CPU to GPU to Memory. All these interconnects are moving from copper to optics, which is considered the future. That is why Silicon Photonics is of interest because it can enable the interconnects.”

DIGITAL INDIA

Digital India, a pioneering initiative of the Government of India, has driven the country's journey towards a digitally empowered society and knowledge-based economy. The advent of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), which promises faster and more energy-efficient data processing and digital computing devices, is poised to revolutionize various sectors in the coming decade. These sectors encompass Data and Telecommunications, Healthcare and Medicine, Automotive and Engineering, among others. Furthermore, PICs are positioned to play a pivotal role in making ambient temperature and affordable quantum technologies a reality.

Under the guidance of MeitY, Government of India, the country is actively fostering the development of diverse PIC technology platforms, including silicon photonics, diamond photonics, polymer photonics, and lithium niobate photonics. This concerted effort, driven by self-sustainable research and development centres operating in partnership with the private sector, aligns perfectly with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ of the Indian government.

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