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India working towards development of Silicon Photonic Processor Chips

In a momentous event that marks a significant leap towards India’s technological advancement, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Shri S Krishnan inaugurated the Centre for Programmable Photonic Integrated Circuit and Systems (CPPICS) in Chennair today. The inauguration ceremony, held at the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), was a testament to India’s commitment to fostering innovation and propelling the nation to the forefront of photonics and digital technology.

During the event, the Secretary of MeitY, 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. The event was also attended by Prof V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras; Prof Nagendra Krishnapura, HoD (DoEE), IIT Madras; Smt Sunita Verma, Scientist G & Group Coordinator, MeitY;  Dr  Kishore Kamath, VP (R&D), Intel Silicon Photonics Product Division, USA and other MeitY & IIT Madras officials. Intel has shown keen interest in the technology.

Digital India, a pioneering initiative of the Government of India, has been the driving force behind the country’s remarkable journey towards a digitally empowered society and knowledge-based economy. The advent of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), promising 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 visionary guidance of the MeitY, India 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” mission of the Indian government.

One remarkable achievement of MeitY’s forward-thinking strategy is the establishment of the Silicon Photonics Centre of Excellence on Programmable Photonic Integrated Circuit and Systems (Silicon Photonics CoE-CPPICS) at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) under the leadership of Prof Bijoy Krishna Das, Dept. of Electrical Engineering. In December 2020, this centre was founded in collaboration with industry leaders to spearhead the design, manufacture, and application development of Photonic Processor Chips using Silicon Photonics technology.

Within the next five years, CPPICS is set to achieve self-sufficiency, drive product commercialization through startups, and provide essential training to bolster the future ecosystem of PIC manufacturing in India. CPPICS is forging critical partnerships, including a 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. Nation is looking forward to witnessing the success of CPPICS as it takes this technology to full commercialization and spearheads PIC manufacturing in India.