POET Technologies Inc., based in Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut, USA, and formerly, OPEL Technologies Inc., is the developer of an integrated circuit platform that will power the next wave of innovation in integrated circuits, by combining electronics and optics onto a single chip for massive improvements in size, power, speed and cost.
POET’s current IP portfolio includes more than 34 patents and seven pending. POET’s core principles have been in development by director and chief scientist, Dr. Geoff Taylor, and his team at the University of Connecticut for the past 18 years, and are now nearing readiness for commercialization opportunities. It recently managed to successfully integrate optics and electronics onto one monolithic chip.
Elaborating, Dr. Geoff Taylor, said: “POET stands for Planar Opto Electronic Technology. The POET platform is a patented semiconductor fabrication process, which provides integrated circuit devices containing both electronic and optical elements on a single chip. This has significant advantages over today’s solutions in terms of density, reliability and power, at a lower cost.
“POET removes the need for retooling, while providing lower costs, power savings and increased reliability. For example, an optoelectronic device using POET technology can achieve estimated cost savings back to the manufacturer of 80 percent compared to the hybrid silicon devices that are widely used today.
“The POET platform is a flexible one that can be applied to virtually any market, including memory, digital/mobile, sensor/laser and electro-optical, among many others. The platform uses two compounds – gallium and arsenide – that will allow semiconductor manufacturers to make microchips that are faster and more energy efficient than current silicon devices, and less expensive to produce.
“The core POET research and development team has spent more than 20 years on components of the platform, including 32 patents (and six patents pending).”
Moore’s Law to end next decade?
Is silicon dead and how much more there is to Moore’s Law?
According to Dr. Taylor, POET Technologies’ view is that Moore’s Law could come to an end within the next decade, particularly as semiconductor companies have recently highlighted difficulties in transitioning to the next generation of chipsets, or can only see two to three generations ahead.
Transistor density and its impact on product cost has been the traditional guideline for advancing computer technology because density has been accomplished by device shrinkage translating to performance improvement. Moore’s Law begins to fail when performance improvement translates less and less to device shrinkage – and this is occurring now at an increasing rate.
He added: “For POET Technologies, however, the question to answer is not when Moore’s Law will end – but what next. Rather than focus on how many more years we can expect Moore’s Law to last – or pinpoint a specific stumbling block to achieving the next generation of chipsets, POET looks at the opportunities for new developments and solutions to continue advancements in computing.
“So, for POET Technologies, we’re focusing less on existing integrated circuit materials and processes and more towards a different track with significant future runway. Our platform is a patented semiconductor fabrication process, which concentrates on delivering increases in performance at lower cost – and meets ongoing consumer appetites for faster, smaller and more power efficient computing.”
Let us know a bit more about POET’s platform and how it is changing the future of applications in military, RF solutions and IC manufacturing.
As per Dr. Taylor, the POET platform provides integrated circuit devices containing both electronic and optical elements on a single chip. It offers functional speed improvements of up to 100 times over silicon CMOS with 10-100 times power efficiency improvements and a flexible design approach that requires no silicon fabrication.
The differentiators and benefits of the POET platform that are currently being tested and experienced by customers include:
* Integrated circuits that provide the complementary logic gate as a replacement for CMOS.
* Integrated circuits that simultaneously integrate the transmitters and receivers and represent a step quantum step forward in processing power, cost and efficiency compared to today’s traditional integrated circuits, or any of other alternatives currently in R&D.
* Methodology that doesn’t require designers or manufacturers to retool – it utilizes and is compatible with existing design, software and foundry equipment.
* Unique optoelectronic building blocks that enable functionalities including low jitter optical clocks, transmitters and optical digital receivers.
The key drivers of POET’s business are the continued desire to produce products that allow faster, smaller and efficient computing, at a lower cost. There is also a strong need to identify the technology that will catalyze the next wave of innovation in the semiconductor business, which is expected to reach $430 billion by 2015. In short, semiconductor manufacturers don’t have to reinvent the wheel to use the POET platform.
Quantum computing – next wave?
Finally, why will quantum computing will be the next major wave of innovation and the baseline technology for all future computing/communication systems?
Dr. Taylor said: “We believe the POET platform will provide a new direction for the development of optical and quantum technologies. In our opinion, this will be the basis for the next generation of chipsets to continue the advancement of computing performance and efficiency for another 50 years –the new integration platform will both enable and provide the direction for this next wave of innovation.”