News | February 23, 2018

SiN Photonic Integrated Circuits For Bio- And Life-Science Applications In The Visible Range

PIX4life is a European Pilot line that offers photonic integrated circuits for biophotonics and life-sciences applications. After two successfull years of internal development, the pilot line is now offering its services to a limited set of external users on an open access way.

"While bulk optics and visible light sources have been commonly used in biology and life-sciences, many of the applications were restricted to laboratories employing large and expensive equipment", says Iñigo Artundo, CEO at VLC Photonics. "The developments of the last decade in the field of photonic integration, stimulated by new advances in Silicon Nitride fabrication capabilities, have lead to a mature technology able to provide solutions for miniaturization, scalability and cost reduction", he continues. "These advances in light manipulation will support new applications for medical instrumentation, multi-wavelenght sources, flow cytometry and photonic sensors. This is possible thanks to the reduction in cost and size of the required equipment from cm scale optical systems to mm scale photonic chips", he adds.

The PIX4life pilot line gathers the complete value chain required for a concept to become a reality, from design, to manufacturing, characterization, and packaging of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). Since PIX4life focuses on PIC technology in the visible and short near-infrared, this technology is well suited to address the needs of numerous applications, such as for bio- and life-sciences.

Since late 2017, interested users can apply for open-access to the pilot line services. The ‘early access‘ of these users to the service offerings is subject to an internal selection procedure, to promote the realisation of promising life science concepts into prototypes.

PIX4life offers open-access to several multi-project wafer runs or MPWs, where fabrications costs and wafer space are shared amongst participating users. These MPWs are organized for different technology platforms at two different Silicon Nitride PICs foundries. “End users can request technical support to choose the right implementation of their optical system into a photonic chip“, added Marco García, R&D manager at VLC Photonics. Once selected, users will be able to submit a design, which will be assigned to a certain area on the wafer, and each design will be replicated several times.

“PIX4life opens us the door to target new medical applications allowing us to accomplish our mission: improving human living through high-quality innovative products“ said Sara Mas Gómez, R&D Engineer at MedLumics a medical instrumentation company located in Madrid, Spain and partner of PIX4life.

For more information about PIX4life and its open access services check the website at: http://www.

About PIX4life
PIX4life is a Pilot line within the European initiative H2020 which aims to develop the complete value chain for Silicon Nitride photonic integrated circuits operating on the visible wavelenght range for life-science applications.