Chapter 3

The Long March to a Silicon-Photonics Union


Electronics may be the driving force behind today’s technology, but increasingly it is calling upon optics for help. Silicon photonics promises to marry the two domains: electronics and photonics. The technology will benefit photonics by bringing it to the mass market while, working along with electronics, silicon photonics will benefit systems.

The two component industries—semiconductors and optics—have developed vastly different problem-solving methodologies and solutions. The semiconductor industry routinely integrates billions of electronic transistors on a chip, whereas photonic circuits use tens or hundreds of components at most. And while the component count on optical chips ...

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