History and Rationale


ePIXfab started as a collaboration between imec, Belgium and CEA-LETI, France to realize the Silicon Photonics Platform within the framework of ePIXnet (2004-2008), the FP6 Network of Excellence on photonic integrated components and circuits. The silicon platform was one of six technology platforms in ePIXnet (the others were the InP platform JePPIX, the nanostructuring platform NanoPIX, the packaging platform ePIXpack, a high-speed test platform and a high performance computing platform).

For more information on ePIXnet, visit www.epixnet.org


Further development of ePIXfab was pursued within the FP7 PhotonFAB project (2008-2011), co-funded by the European Union. PhotonFAB significantly reduced the barriers for access and has brought many improvements to ePIXfab: start of access to active (thermo-optic) devices, training including hands-on CAD software training, design kit, a more mature operation and a roadmap. Users without prior silicon photonics expertise as well as first companies started to use our services.

For more information on PhotonFAB, visit www.photonfab.eu


ePIXfab today is a consortium of 7 partners within the framework of the EU FP7 project - ESSenTIAL. To know more about the ESSenTIAL project click here.


The mission of ePIXfab is to build a future for silicon photonics in Europe through the development of a fabless model for the fabrication of silicon photonic circuits based on existing CMOS labs and commercial foundries relying on European know-how. 

This should be done by involving all interested parties, from academia, industy and policy-making bodies.




Silicon has become more and more important as a material for integrated photonics. Silicon-on-Insulator has become a material of choice for passive photonic integrated circuits. Recent advances in the field have even pushed Silicon beyond its passive niche, with demonstrations of high speed Silicon based modulators, Silicon/Germanium detectors and even light sources. The fact that today’s commercial electronics are based on the same material can be used a leverage for the development of Silicon photonics. 

The VLSI of CMOS has established a huge technology base for mass-fabrication of Silicon-based electronic circuits with submicron features. Many of these processes can be applied directly or in a slightly modified form to photonics to fabricate photonic circuits in silicon-on-insulator (SOI). Compatibility with CMOS technology is very important when considering possible large-volume manufacturability as well as integration with electronics.

A platform is needed to push this technology transfer and make it available to projects and activities within and outside ePIXnet. This platform should support the creation of silicon photonic devices from design to fabricated product, using medium- to high-volume fabrication techniques, and thus facilitate research in a variety of fields linked to silicon photonics, such as hybridization, biophotonics, sensing and telecommunications. In the future, this should ease the transition of silicon photonic components from research to market because fabrication processes should in the end be transferable to commercial CMOS foundries.

ePIXfab endeavours to build up a critical mass of European stakeholders in silicon photonics, to create a stronger interface with with industrial electronics manufacturers. The core partners, IMEC and CEA-LETI, are ideally positioned as large CMOS development labs with a strong presence in silicon photonics.

Last Updated (Friday, 10 May 2013 08:49)