[News] Silicon Photonics Reshapes the Future; TSMC, ASE Ready to Seize Market Share

2023-12-04 Semiconductors editor

According to a report from Taiwan’s Commercial Times, industry experts assert that Silicon Photonics (SiPh) is poised to revolutionize the cloud industry as communication transmission speeds surge beyond 1.6 Tbps. Utilizing Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) for integration, SiPh combines optical components and Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology into a singular module, effectively mitigating power consumption challenges.

Moreover, the versatility of SiPh is highlighted by its applications in communication transmission, biomedical sensing, LiDAR, high-speed AI transmission, smart healthcare, and autonomous vehicles, showcasing significant potential. This expansive range of potential applications underscores the promising future of SiPh technology.

Major players in the semiconductor landscape, including TSMC, ASE, SunSin, and Accton, express bullish sentiments towards SiPh and CPO technologies.

However, current hurdles such as chip yields and standardization remain, awaiting resolution. The anticipated timeline for tangible contributions is expected to extend beyond 2025.

In the realm of photonic integration, TSMC takes the lead among Taiwanese manufacturers. The company’s Compact Universal Photonics Engine (COUPE) offers heterogeneous integration of Photonic ICs (PICs) and Electronic ICs (EICs), resulting in a 40% reduction in energy consumption and a considerable increase in customer adoption likelihood.

TSMC has reportedly invested in a 200-person R&D team, collaborating with international clients for joint development.

ASE is actively involved in the research and development of SiPh and CPO packaging technology. Leveraging the VIPack advanced packaging platform, the market anticipates a gradual uptick in related businesses in the latter half of 2024, with significant order momentum expected to surge in 2025.

Networking company Accton is channeling efforts into the photonic integration of various components for switches. On the other hand, SunSin, a System-in-Package (SiP) testing and packaging facility, is strategically positioning itself in CPO process technology.

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(Image: ASE)