CEOs from eight of Europe’s largest integrated-photonics companies are calling on the European Union for support. On Tuesday, they presented a 4.25-billion-euro plan “to build a resilient European supply chain for photonic integrated circuits” to EU representatives. The plan calls for incentives to set up manufacturing capacity, facilitate access of SMEs to state-of-the-art test and experimentation facilities and IP creation through stimulation of application development, among other things.
The group states that the low level of EU manufacturing capacity and over-reliance on Asia threaten the EU’s economic security and resilience. Currently, less than 6 percent of the manufacturing of indium phosphide and silicon nitride PICs is done in the EU and less than 4 percent of global assembly, testing and packaging capacity resides in Europe. Furthermore, research by the Dutch photonics ecosystem Photondelta highlights that competitor nations are making concerted efforts to acquire EU PIC technologies and assets along with seeking stakes in EU SMEs in the PIC supply chain.
“Photonic integrated circuits have the capacity to transform a huge range of industries. They’re also fundamental to the advancement of some of the most exciting new technologies. Currently, the EU has a vibrant and growing integrated-photonics industry, but without volume manufacturing, testing and packaging capacity, we’re incredibly vulnerable to global events and the policies of competitor countries,” says Johan Feenstra, CEO of Smart Photonics.
“Our proposal outlines a number of practical steps that the EU can take over the next decade to ensure the continued growth and security of the integrated-photonics industry. For just over 4 billion euros, we can build our supply chain and ensure the future of an industry that has the capacity to generate hundreds of billions of euros each year for decades to come.”
The group of CEOs consists of Rudi De Winter (XFAB), Johan Feenstra (Smart Photonics), Felix Grawert (Aixtron), Albert Hasper (Phix Photonics Assembly), Inigo Artundo (VLC Photonics), Jean-Louis Gentner (Almae), Thomas Hessler (Ligentec) and Ewit Roos (Photondelta).