SiOBs: Today’s Foundation For Tomorrow’s Technologies
How many smart devices do you encounter in your daily life? Today there are >20 billion connected devices on our planet, with nearly 5 billion internet users consuming zettabytes (yes, that’s 1021 bytes!) of data every year. That number will only continue to grow as tech gets faster, cheaper, and more powerful.
How will the information superhighway handle all this traffic? Cisco estimated that the Web must be able to handle 25-30% more data every single year. Virtually all of this traffic runs through optical fiber at some point in its journey. How will the industry pack all those extra zettabytes of data into fibers year after year?
The answer lies in greater levels of optical integration and faster data rates on each fiber. This strategy requires the continued rollout of optical transceivers with bandwidths of 100 GB, 400 GB, and — soon — 800 GB per second. That means faster lasers, more precise modulators, tighter tolerance placement of components, lower loss couplers, shorter signal paths, and more. Further, the market opportunities in this space continue to increase year on year.
Silicon optical benches (SiOBs) play an increasingly critical role in this march to higher data rates. An SiOB is a wafer-level platform that efficiently integrates the many elements of an optical system, including lasers, lenses, mirrors, photodetectors, filters, isolators, rotators, and couplers. You may also have seen SiOBs referred to as micro-optical benches, optical motherboards, or laser micro-packages.
SiOBs serve a crucial function: they integrate advanced optical systems, at the wafer level, in many applications, including medical imaging, 3D sensing, virtual reality, and augmented reality. This integration delivers improvements in cost, precision, and size. Whether you’re building a gaming platform or medical device today — or designing tomorrow’s autonomous vehicle — you could be exploiting the benefits of this unsung hero of today’s technology revolution.
At Atomica (formerly IMT), we produce millions of SiOBs every year, thanks to our unmatched expertise, proprietary processes, and extensive tooling for integrated micro-optics. For these reasons, Atomica is the leading one-stop shop — from design to development to manufacturing — for companies needing customized SiOBs on both 150-mm and 200-mm wafers.