The momentum of silicon nitride in photonics is huge today. Thanks to the combination of the low propagation loss (below 0.1 dB/cm), high integration density, and ultra-wideband operation that it can offer, the silicon nitride is probably the platform with the highest potential for the development of complex photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that can sense and think with ultra-high sensitivity, precision and computation capacity. This oncoming generation of PICs has the potential to boost the use of photonics in existing application areas such as metrology, sensing, biosensing and microwave photonics, and enable the uptake of photonic solutions in emerging areas with huge interest such as neuromorphic computing, quantum communications and quantum computing.
Despite these excellent prospects and its unique potential in terms of passive waveguiding performance, the silicon nitride platform remains passive in nature. The hybrid solutions for emission, modulation, nonlinear processing and detection of light on this platform are still non-optimum or even totally absent if these solutions should offer, high photonic performance, wideband operation, and integration robustness at the same time. The potential of the silicon nitride platform is thus real and present, but its exploitation is still partial and challenging.
LOLIPOP is a photonic integration project that aims to fill this gap, and enable the silicon nitride platform to make the next step and fully flourish. To this end, LOLIPOP invests on the combination of the silicon nitride with the lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI) technology, while working in parallel on the integration of semiconducting materials on the silicon nitride platform using a disruptive set of methods. TriPleX, the silicon nitride variant of LXI serves in LOLIPOP as the motherboard of this new hybrid technology. Both this motherboard, the elements that are treated as daughterboards, and their integration methods have been picked out to serve a vision with three main axes related to the optical functionality, the spectral coverage, and the future production flow of the envisioned platform: