Photonic Systems Manufacturing Consortium Update

By John MacWilliams | March 16, 2015

The goal of PSMC is to address the technology gaps and challenges that limit the advancement of hardware technology for integrated photonic system manufacturing. Learn more about how to get involved.

The Photonic Systems Manufacturing Consortium (PSMC) is a collaborative program organized by the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) and the MIT Microphotonics Center (MIT-MphC), and funded by the NIST Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program.

The goal of PSMC is to address the technology gaps and challenges that limit advancement of hardware technology for integrated photonic system manufacturing – electro-optical systems “inside the box” that will eventually enable 1,000 Terabit speeds from the chip to 1km. Initially, PSMC will bring together the fragmented, customization-focused photonics industry, along with academic-based and other research technologists, to collaboratively develop a common roadmap for low-cost, high-volume manufacturing of photonics systems for data and telecommunication systems. This roadmap will:

  • Define broad future system needs
  • Define gaps and roadblocks affecting integrated photonics system manufacturing
  • Guide manufacturing research and address system requirements for networks that fully exploit the power of photonics
  • Become the necessary bridge between today’s 40Gb copper and tomorrow’s Terabit photonic systems

Follow-on steps will be devoted to building a shared manufacturing platform for cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing and to fostering growth of a stable technology supply chain in the United States.


With Internet traffic increasing by 40 – 50% annually, new light-based technologies – or photonics – are considered the best option for keeping up with the exponentially growing demand for communicating and processing information. Poised for rapid growth, the nation’s photonic component manufacturing industry must migrate from competing in a high-margin, low-volume telecommunications market to serving high-volume markets spawned by the convergence of the Internet with a growing array of information technologies and services.

While fiber optic cables are used to transmit data over long distances, photonic technologies are edging into a variety of other uses, all the way down to on-chip communications. The biggest opportunities, perhaps, may be in integrating electronic and photonic technologies into single systems rather than the assortments of discrete units that exist today. To realize these opportunities requires development of high-volume mass manufacturing, assembly, and packaging technologies and processes that are reliable and cost-effective.

The first five PSMC Technology Working Groups are:

Cost Emulator

Another important activity of the consortium is the development of a cost emulator to determine the cost/performance objectives for high-volume production. The PSMC cost emulator is being developed by Dr. Randy Kirchain and Professor Elsa Olivetti of MIT; industry participants will provide the functional cost objectives.


All previous participants in relevant iNEMI, ITRS, and MIT MicroPhotonics Technology Working Groups, as well as additional stakeholders, are invited to participate in PSMC’s focused integrated photonics effort. Key organizations, including universities, research institutes, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), customers, and the vertical supply chain, will be invited to participate. Participation and attendance at all meetings of PSMC is by invitation, but all stakeholders who are willing to devote time and effort to achieve the goals of PSMC are encouraged to participate.  Find out how to get involved.

Table 1 - Photonic Systems

John MacWilliams
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