EUROPRACTICE-IC provides Multi-Project-Wafer prototyping and Volume Production services of imec Silicon Photonics and Silicon Nitride Photonics.


Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies headquartered in Belgium.


It offers cost-effective, highly reproducible and CMOS compatible fabrication. Customers can benefit from regularly scheduled MPW runs and dedicated mask runs.


Complete PDKs include technology details, design and layout rules, and a library of building block components.


imec currently offers the following technologies for EUROPRACTICE customers:

The ISiPP50G platform co-integrates a wide variety of passive and active components to support a wide range of optical transceiver architectures at data rates of 25Gb/s or 50Gb/s. The offered integrated components include low-loss waveguides, efficient vertical grating or broadband edge couplers, high-speed silicon electro-optic modulators, high-speed silicon-germanium electro-absorption modulators, high-speed germanium waveguide photo-detectors, and an option for exposed waveguides (removing oxide from the top of the waveguides so exposing them to ambient). iSiPP50G offers state-of-the-art performance, design flexibility and superior CD and thickness control. It is a fixed process technology (130nm) with a validated device library.

imec Si-Photonics iSiPP50G
Enabled devices
3 silicon
patterning steps
3 etch depths
in 220nm Si:
70nm, 160nm;
220nm (193 nm litho)
Strip/rib waveguides,
various passive
optical devices,
silicon taper
Gate oxide and
Poly-Silicon layer
1 etch depth:
full poly etch (160nm)
(193nm litho)
Advanced grating couplers,
poly-Si waveguide
Ion implantation in Si
8 implants levels:
4x n-type and
4x p-type
Si carrier depletion,
injection and accumulation devices,
Ge Photodectors, doped Si resistors, …
Ge module
100% Ge(Si) RPCVD
selective epitaxial
growth & 2x
implants levels
Ge Photodectors Ge(Si) EA modulator
Silicide tungsten contact module
Ohmic contacts
to doped silicon
Standard CMOS
contacts plugs
Metal heater
Metal layer for heaters
Metal heaters
Two-level metal interconnect
Cu-based two-level
Standard CMOS
Aluminium finish
Standard CMOS
Deep trench
Deep trench
to expose edge
coupler facets
Edge couplers

imec Si-Photonics Passives+ technology is a subset of iSiPP50G technology.

Main characteristics:

  • The device layer of SOI wafers is etched at three different depths to enable integration of different photonic functions.
  • A patterned poly-Silicon layer improves the performance of grating couplers for out-of-plane coupling to fibers.
  • A deep etched trench at an edge of the chips, combined with edge-coupler components, provides optical access, with a broader optical bandwidth.
  • A layer for metal-based heaters enables thermal tuning of the optical functions.
  • Electrical access to the metal heaters is established through two additional levels of metal interconnect.
  • Option for exposed waveguides (removing oxide from the top of the waveguides so exposing them to ambient).
  • The imec Si-Photonics Multi Project Wafer service (MPW) serves datacom and telecom applications, but also welcomes designs for other applications, e.g. sensing.

BioPIX is imec’s silicon nitride (SiN) photonics platform which is particularly optimized for applications in the visible and near infra-red wavelengths. The platform is based on PECVD SiN-on-insulator 200mm wafers processed on 180nm process technology in a CMOS fab. This allows highly repeatable and low variability fabrication of integrated photonic devices. The technology has been validated through 6 early-access MPWs in the EU project PIX4life.


BioPIX is available in two different technology flavors:

  • BioPIX150, based on 150nm thick SiN, for applications in the wavelength range of 400nm – 700nm.
  • BioPIX300, based on 300nm thick SiN, for applications in the wavelength range of 700nm – 1000nm.


The platform offers possibility of two depth levels for SiN etch to allow fabrication of components such as strip waveguide, rib waveguide, shallow and fully etched grating couplers etc. The platform allows selective removal of cladding from waveguides for micro-fluidic channels and sensing zones etc. The platform also offers two layers of metals for functions such as thermo-optic tuning, electrical inter-connects etc., and a layer for deep trench etch for devices such as edge couplers.


Designing for this platform is supported through the process-design-kits (PDK) for Synopsys and Luceda Photonics software. The PDK includes technology files for designing, design library of building block components (waveguides, grating couplers, MMIs, directional couplers etc.), and documentation describing the technology, design rules and library components.

imec Si-Photonics BioPIX
Enabled devices
2 SiN flavors
2 SiN thicknesses: 150nm (BioPIX150) 300nm (BioPIX300)
2 flavors optimized for wavelengths 300nm – 1000nm
2 SiN patterning
steps each
2 etch depths
BioPIX150: 90nm / 150nm
BioPIX300: 150nm / 300nm
Strip / rib waveguides, shallow etched grating couplers
Clad oxide removal
Exposure of waveguides for sensing by removing local clad SiO2
Micro-channels for evanescent sensing by waveguides.
Metal heater
TiN metal lines for resistive heating
Thermo-optic tuners, switches, modulators etc.
Metal interconnect
Al metal lines and pads for interconnects
Metal interconnects, probe-pads, bond-pads
Metal heater
Metal layer for heaters
Metal heaters
Deep trench
Deep trench to expose edge coupler facets
Edge couplers
EUROPRACTICE webinars on imec MPW services