POET Technologies is an advanced semiconductor development and manufacturing company dedicated to enabling the integration of photonics and electronics through both monolithic and hybrid approaches to device design and packaging.
Today, the Company is actively engaged in the development of solutions based on a novel “hybrid” integration approach, which combines Indium Phosphide (InP)-based photonics chips and dielectric waveguide devices on a silicon base into a single package. This approach enables the replacement of high-cost optical components, such as mirrors and lenses, with embedded dielectric devices, dramatically lowering the cost of potential solutions aimed at the “medium-reach” segment of the data communications market (i.e., 500m–10 kilometers).
In addition, through its DenseLight subsidiary, the Company sells InP-based devices into the sensing and data communications markets, primarily superluminescent light emitting diodes (SLEDs) that span a variety of form factors, including chips, modules and high-value, programmable subsystems. POET is also applying the intellectual property acquired from BB Photonics to its DenseLight product portfolio in several ways to lower overall module cost by eliminating the complex process of active alignment and the use of lenses and metallized fibers. Through this novel approach, the Company believes the packaging costs of its DenseLight modules can be reduced by up to 70% from current levels. This combination of DenseLight and BB Photonics under the POET umbrella offers an unprecedented opportunity for the Company to address the market for sensing products with low-cost solutions. In addition, it will allow POET to pursue the large and growing market for 100G and potentially 400G transceiver products, with both integrated transceivers as well as active and passive components.
Historically, the Company’s primary focus had been on the monolithic integration, based on a proprietary gallium arsenide-based (GaAs) platform. POET has developed a design for a single, monolithic semiconductor chip (“photonic engine” technology) that has all of the elements needed to communicate data at the speed of light, yet with the lower cost profile of copper. The POET photonic engine, as designed, integrates at least three essential discrete devices onto a single GaAs chip: a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), a photodetector and an electronic circuit based on either a thyristor or a heterostructure field-effect transistor (HFET).
A single chip solution is not only the lowest cost approach to photonic integration, it has the added benefits of lower power consumption and smaller size – all by a factor of 2X to 10X compared to conventional solutions. By integrating multiple device functions, POET believes it can capture the combined value associated with discrete devices, such as lasers, detectors and multiplexers. The first application of the POET photonic engine technology would be in the data center market, initially in the form of Active Optical Cables (AOCs), which today is largely served by Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables. This “ultra-short reach” segment of the data communications market covers distances of less than five meters at datacom speeds of 25 to 100 Gigabits per second (Gbs). By providing a monolithically integrated solution, the Company believes it can disrupt the market for copper-based short reach datacom, with a simple, low cost, scalable device that consumes vastly lower power.