Fraunhofer – Photonic Components Department

The Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI) of Berlin, Germany, has been a member institute of the Fraunhofer Society since 2003. As such it focuses on applied research of direct utility to private and public enterprises and of wide benefit to society. Organised in 7 departments with about 300 employees in total, research & development activities are conducted in the following areas: photonic networks; mobile broadband communications; image processing; high-speed hardware architectures; interactive media/human factors; fiber optical sensor systems; and photonic components. The Photonic Components (PC) department, the biggest department with a staff of currently 85 scientists, engineers and technicians, has a history of more than 30 years. Relying on InP based semiconductors and optical polymers as enabling materials platforms photonic devices are researched, developed and manufactured in small volumes for applications in optical communications and optical sensors applications, including THz technology. A wide range of different photonic devices has successfully been developed over the years, in most cases in close collaboration with companies, in particular SMEs. These include, amongst others, a variety of transmitter devices, ultra-fast photodetectors, high-bit rate modulators, components for all-optical signal processing and THz transmitters and receivers, and photonic integrated circuits (PIC). As a prominent example of the latter, the world’s first fully integrated heterodyne receiver was demonstrated in 1994, and a 25 GBd QPSK receiver chip in 2010. Since 2009 a generic PIC platform is under development (funded by EC projects EuroPIC and PARADIGM) aiming at providing related foundry services to SMEs and academic research groups. Regarding polymeric components a platform has been established for hybrid integration of polymer based planar lightwave circuits with InP actives and thin film elements. Furthermore, there is a sound expertise in micro-optical diffractive elements. A renowned spin-off company of HHI is u2t Photonics, a world-leading manufacturer (staff > 150) of high-speed photonic components.