Photonics integrated circuits, which combine a collection of optoelectronic functions on a single chip, are an increasingly common part of everyday life. They are used in high-speed optical transceivers that link server racks in data centers, including the one used to deliver the IEEE Spectrum website, in lidars to keep self-driving cars on track, and in spectrometers to spot chemicals in the atmosphere, among many other applications. All these systems have grown less expensive and, in some cases have become economically feasible, by making most of the IC with silicon fabrication technologies.
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18 April 2023