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Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC)



A photonic integrated circuit is an integrated circuit with optical functions. Optical signals travel at the speed of light, which is faster than electronic signals. This speed is appealing, but photonics requires more power and researchers are working to solve these issues. The PIC is used in telecommunications, specifically optical fiber networks, but is in many sectors now. Medical, aeronautics, manufacturing use PICs. PICs have also been used in lab-on-a-chip, LIDAR technology and quantum computing.

Mixing photonics and electronics in a chip is not easy. In a typical photonics system today, the photonics die and electronics die are built separately and then bonded together. Because the dies are stacked in a package, the packaging is more complex. Testing the PIC has complications because the optical fibers have curves.

EDA vendors, such as Synopsys, has design tools for PICs.
Source: RP Photonics Encylopedia.