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SPIE plenary takes in photonics, 3DICs, connected devices

By Jeff Dorsch, contributing editor

Speakers at the plenary session of the SPIE Advanced Lithography conference covered a wide variety of topics, from photonics to 3D chips to the Internet of Things, on Monday morning, February 23, in San Jose, Calif.

Alan Willner, the Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering at the University of Southern California, described activities of the National Photonics Initiative, which he serves as chair-elect.

The initiative has attracted interest and support in Washington, D.C., with $250 million budgeted to fund an Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. There are three proposals being considered for the institute’s operation, with a decision expected in the near future, Willner said.

“Photonics spans a growing range of technologies and industries,” he noted. “This breadth has impeded the formulation of coherent strategies.”

Optics and photonics could benefit from the same type of lobbying and promotion employed by the semiconductor industry, he said. To that end, the NPI has hired the Podesta Group to provide access and insight on working with the federal government.

Tsu-Jae King Liu, chair of the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, spoke about “Sustaining the Silicon Revolution” through three-dimensional semiconductor technology and 3D integration. She described the potential implementation of electro-mechanical switches, scaled down to contemporary transistor size, and a polymeric relay; both subjects led to multiple questions from interested attendees.

The plenary session concluded with a talk about the Internet of Things by Xiaowei Shen, director of IBM Research in China. “This is just the beginning of Big Data,” he said. “IoT data will dominate.”

What IBM hopes to foster is combining systems of engagement (such as social networks) and systems of record into “systems of insight,” Shen said.



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