The Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU) is one of the largest research universities in Germany and a key player in nanosciences and nanotechnology. In recent years, strategic investments in new infrastructure and technology have been procured to strengthen nanoscale research, including the Center for NanoTechnology (CeNTech) and the Center for Soft Nanoscience (SoN).
WWU is coordinating the PHOENICS project. WWU also provides key expertise in phase-change photonics, photonic neuromorphic computing and precision nanofabrication. Neuromorphic photonic circuits for PHOENICS will be fabricated at the Münster Nanofabrication Facility (MNF), which is an open access precision fabrication facility for devices with features at molecular length scales. WWU provides access to the MNF also for the project partners. In addition, WWU offers design and characterization tools for photonic platforms, as well as a strong international network in the field of photonic computing.
The main role of the University of Exeter in the PHOENICS project will be to provide specialist expertise for the modelling of phase-change materials, devices and systems. Such modelling will play a significant part in WP4 and WP6, where it will aid significantly in the understanding of device and system performance and, importantly, enable the proper design and optimisation of materials, devices and systems. UNEXE has vast experience in the development and application of suitable models, having, for example, pioneered the use of rate-equation and cellular automata methods for physically realistic simulation of phase-switching processes in electrical and photonic phase-change devices. We have also developed more computationally-efficient behavioural models that can capture the essential outputs of the physically-realistic models, and are thus more suited to the understanding and design of system level (as opposed to device level) performance. All such models will be extended and adapted in the PHOENICS project to enable the modelling of phase-change based matrix multiplier devices and systems developed in WP4, and the various analog computation applications of WP6.
The EPFL team is a pioneer in the field of microresonator-based optical frequency combs and spearheading the development of the field towards compact, scalable and robust chip-scale optical comb sources. EPFL has developed the photonic Damascene process enabling the fabrication of ultra-high-Q silicon nitride microresonators at a wafer scale. Thus EPFL will work on the fabrication and characterization of microresonator devices for the generation of optical frequency combs and will contribute to the work in WP3.
Prof. Tobias Kippenberg has 20 years of experience in nanophotonics and quantum optics, which places him at the forefront of the emergent revolution of quantum technologies and photonic integrated circuitry, and is in an excellent position to lead WP3.
Nanoscribe develops and produces 3D printers and maskless lithography systems for microfabrication and offers tailor-made printing materials and application-specific solution sets. As the pioneer and market leader for additive manufacturing of high-precision structures and objects on the nano-, micro- and mesoscale, Nanoscribe empowers cutting edge science and drives industrial innovations in a wide variety of sectors such as microoptics, micromechanics, biomedical engineering, and photonics technologies. Breakthrough research with Nanoscribe technology is highlighted in more than 1,000 peer-reviewed journal publications.
In PHOENICS, Nanoscribe will develop new hardware- and software-based solutions for photonic packaging. A key challenge for the industrialization of photonically packaged systems is the wide variety of different photonic platforms which typically all have different optical coupling interfaces. Efficient optical coupling without active alignment thus becomes almost impossible. Nanoscribe intends to integrate the results of the project into complete photonic packaging solutions consisting of automated systems, software, photoresins, and corresponding processes. As hardware platform, Nanoscribe will use Quantum X and aims to establish an advanced platform as the industry standard for next-generation photonic packaging.
The background of the University of Oxford’s Advanced Nanoscale Engineering Lab is in the application of phase-change materials in a variety of optoelectronic devices, as well as advanced nanofabrication techniques. Its work on photonic devices for computing will contribute to work packages 4 on the development of matrix multiplication device concepts as well as contributing to WPs 6 and 8. The University of Oxford will perform both modeling and experimental research to investigate new photonic multiplication concepts using in-memory photonic computing and develop novel photonic computing paradigms.
Harish Bhaskaran has 20 years of experience in nanoscale engineering and his expertise in computing devices and nanoscale design places him in an excellent position to lead WP 4.
UGENT will contribute the design and the fabrication of the silicon photonics chips in WP5, where the demultiplexing and detection will take place. Peter Bienstman has over a decade of experience in silicon photonics for neuromorphic processing, which places him in an excellent position to lead WP5.
The background of IBM is in the application of novel hardware for neuromorphic computing. Its work on photonic convolutional processing will contribute to WP4 and WP6 on analog optical signal processing. IBM will perform experimental research to investigate scalable convolutional processors and develop integrated optical devices, containing diffractive structures representing the matrix elements. IBM will also lead WP8, in which the established technological solutions will be benchmarked against the state-of-the-art and exploitation & dissemination activities are bundled.
Dr. Bert Jan Offrein has over 25 years of experience in integrated photonics, his expertise in photonic neuromorphic computing hardware places him in an excellent position to lead WP6 and WP8.
Lasers are an important part of many technologies. However, many applications are limited by the fact that lasers often do not have a very pure color. This applies in distance measurements, timekeeping, and long-distance telecommunication. MicroR has technology (Optical Microresonators) that can be used to greatly improve the performance of lasers in terms of the purity of the color (roughly a thousand times purer) and in a package that 20 times smaller than existing technology. We are currently developing this for a range of applications from space and defense to precision distance measurements. In the PHOENICS project, MicroR is using its technology to make the photonic integrated multichannel source (optical frequent comb) driving the photonic computing platform.