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December 19, 2016

How Infinera is Advancing U.S. Competitiveness Through Integrated Photonics

By Margo Westfall
Sr. Manager, Corporate Marketing


As part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) initiative, Vice President Joe Biden, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall announced the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics (MII-IP) Innovation Hub in Rochester, New York.

In a related press release, the White House and the Department of Defense announced that the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded $110 million to the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI). Subsequent to the announcement, the name of the MII-IP and IP-IMI initiatives were changed to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) to create consistent naming among all government agencies.

The total investment of $610 million — the $110 million from federal funds and more than $500 million in private sector contributions — represents the largest public-private commitment to date for a manufacturing institute launched in the United States. AIM’s Integrated Photonics Institute is designed to establish a technology, business and education framework for industry, government and academia to accelerate the transition of integrated photonics solutions from technology prototypes to manufacturing-ready deployment in systems spanning multiple commercial and defense applications.

AIM Photonics is focused on developing an end-to-end photonics ecosystem in the U.S. and is part of the NNMI’s public-private partnership model to boost advanced manufacturing, foster American innovation, and attract and create jobs that strengthen the middle class.

What is less known by some is the important role Infinera has played in the initiative. Infinera was integral in the development of the integrated photonics institute concept. Actively involved in the initiative from its inception, Infinera played a key role compelling the decision by NNMI to approve an institute for integrated photonics and, thereafter, actively participating in the AIM Photonics bid preparation. Infinera will continue to support the initiative by leveraging its industry-leading capabilities in indium phosphide and photonic integrated circuit (PIC) ecosystem (packaging, electronics and controls) to contribute and extend the capabilities of integrated photonics.

During the announcement, Infinera’s Fred Kish, Sr. Vice President of the Optical Integrated Circuit Group, met with Vice President Joe Biden.

Infinera’s Fred Kish and Vice President Joe Biden at the Announcement of the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics Innovation Hub in Rochester, New York.
Infinera’s Fred Kish and Vice President Joe Biden at the Announcement of the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics Innovation Hub in Rochester, New York.

Well respected in the technical community, Dr. Kish is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His awards include the IEEE David Sarnoff Award, the IEEE LEOS Engineering Achievement Award, the OSA Adolph Lomb Award, and the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors Young Scientist Award.

“Photonic integration has revolutionized the optical networking industry and Infinera has led the way, starting with delivering the industry’s first large-scale photonic integrated circuit, which started to ship in networking systems in 2005,” said Dr. Kish. “We are happy to be working with AIM and SUNY Polytechnic Institute as a Tier 1 industry member. Through our focus on innovation, Infinera continues to advance integrated photonics to enable service providers and data center operators to deploy networks consuming less power and space while offering the capacity required to transport data over long distances. We are honored to join AIM in developing and designing the high performance tools the nation requires to remain competitive.”

With a state-of-the-art indium phosphide fab and recognition for developing the industry’s most sophisticated indium phosphide PICs, Infinera has been leading photonic integration since its inception in 2004 with the introduction of the industry’ first large-scale PIC through support for petabit-per-second super-channels. And now, Infinera is providing network operators with Intelligent Transport Networks based on the Infinite Capacity Engine – a multi-terabit optical subsystem enabling the next step function in optical performance. The Infinite Capacity Engine delivers up to 2.4 terabits per second of optical super-channel capacity and reach up to 12,000 kilometers in a single small package.

By realizing optical components like lasers and optical sensors on a semiconductor platform – and subsequently putting these components onto a single microchip, a photonic IC – integrated photonics could advance technology in ways never before possible. Applications include:

  • High-performance embedded computing and data centers
  • Analog radio frequency (RF) transmission communications (distributed and transport of RF signals over fiber)
  • Embedded sensors for chemical analysis and life science, such as reusable sensors on mobile device, and chip-scale sensors for environmental, military, consumer and healthcare
  • Phased array antennas for a variety of applications ranging from display technology to biomedical imaging and free space communications.

“Our partnership with Infinera dramatically expands our access to cutting-edge photonics technologies that are crucial to the success of the institute. It also adds more photonics industry star-power to our team,” said Michael Liehr, CEO of AIM Photonics and Executive Vice President of Innovation and Technology for SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “Infinera is a leader in photonics innovation and the ability to tap into its resources, as well as those of our other nationwide members, further increases the already significant potential of this Rochester-based initiative.”

Similar to how the development of scalable manufacturing techniques for microelectronics has fueled four decades of U.S.-led economic growth in the semiconductor integrated circuit industry, advances in integrated photonics that are delivering significant improvements in size, performance, cost and reliability are expected to help the U.S. remain competitive in today’s global, high-tech economy.

Infinera will continue to be integral to the advancement of integrated photonics in our expanding role with AIM Photonics and by empowering network operators to quickly deliver differentiated services based on an infinite pool of intelligent bandwidth.

For more information on Infinera Intelligent Transport Networks, contact us.

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