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Call for a European photonics strategy

18.11.2022 - The new European Chips Act is not enough to cover the needs of the photonics industry. According to Prof Gabriel Crean, who was talking at the PIC Summit Europe 2022, actions must be overlapping and reinforcing.

“The European Union will fail to advance towards digital strategic autonomy if it is not at the forefront of technological innovation and manufacturing resilience in both electronic and photonic chips.” CEO Prof Dr Gabriel Crean of Luxemburg-based Lux Consulting Group, thinks the new European Chips Act is not enough to cover the needs of the photonics industry. “Photonic chips cannot be a simple ‘add-on’ to the EU Chips Act.”

According to Prof Crean, who was talking  at the PIC Summit Europe 2022, held in Eindhoven on November 7 and 8, actions must be overlapping and reinforcing. “In other words, they need to be holistic, which means they will be addressing manufacturing capacity, a level playing field, trade restrictions, innovation, and support for training and education.” On top of that, in order to achieve the European digital ambitions, speed is essential: “That’s why I ring the alarm bell now. We have to move fast.”

Prof Crean warned his audience that the biggest mistake for now would be to underestimate the changes the world has recently gone through. “This change is irrevocable. Covid, Russia’s war, the tensions between China and the US, all have resulted in systemic impacts on energy, supply chains, investments. The EU economy faces unprecedented challenges.” He calls for strategic autonomy in at least two identified technologies: microelectronics integrated circuits and photonic integrated circuits.

Crean’s warnings were directly addressed at the European Commission. Colette Maloney, the Commission’s Head of Microelectronics and Photonics, answered them with a broader look at the context of the Chips Act, focusing on pilot lines for photonic chips. “But first of all: rest assured that photonics is an integral part of the Chips Act, not an add-on of some sort.”

Ms Maloney says the European Chips Act and the ‘Chips for Europe Initiative’ will bridge the gap between lab and fab. “We will build a virtual platform to reinforce Europe's semiconductor design capacity, enhance existing and developing new pilot lines, build advanced technology and engineer capacities for accelerating the development of quantum chips. Also, we will create a network of competence centres across Europe, and establish a Chips Fund to facilitate access to loans and equity by start-ups, scale ups and SMEs and other companies in the semiconductor value chain.

Of course, Maloney is aware of the fact that all these objectives depend on investments. She says the EU is preparing loans and equity schemes, through EIB and EIC. “On top of that, I want to invite the whole value chain to take part in the workshops we are organizing.”

PIC Summit Europe 2022 is a new congress, one of two photonic chip conferences in Europe and will return annually. It is expected to take place again next year in November. PhotonDelta is the lead organizer of the congress; the program was set up together with the Eindhoven University of Technology and IPSR-I. (Source: PhotonDelta)

Contact

Cooperatie Photon Delta U.A.

High Tech Campus 41
5656AE Eindhoven
Netherlands

+31 85 112-4337

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The first part of the webinar will provide an overview of the fundamentals and challenges of the welding process and the features of the CIVAN CBC laser. The second part of the webinar will discuss approaches to take advantage of fast, arbitrary beam shaping to control process problems.

Register now

Digital tools or software can ease your life as a photonics professional by either helping you with your system design or during the manufacturing process or when purchasing components. Check out our compilation:

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