Co-funded by Disruptive innovations for communications systems and IT security as part of the grant program “IKT 2020 - Forschung für Innovationen / IKT 2020 – Innovation Science”
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) – German Federal Ministry for Education and Research

Duration: September 2016 – August 2020


Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and 5G are synonyms for the increasing digitization of our society and are directly linked to the ever increasing interconnection of sensors, instruments, equipment and people. Current forecasts predict that up to 50 billion devices will be connected in 2020. This will lead to a tenfold increase of the transmitted amount of data compared to today's networks. Especially for areas where cabling is not possible or too expensive, the development of a cost-effective technology for high bit rate wireless communication is essential for the viability of such future projects.

Objectives and Approaches

The aim of the Phonograph project is to provide components capable of meeting the various bandwidth requirements of different applications in a flexible way. The requirements range from a few Mbit/s for communication between sensors in production system monitoring to several hundreds of Gbit/s for backhaul solutions in wireless communications networks. Only new and disruptive approaches will be able to satisfy these various needs. To achieve its objective, Phonograph uses a hybrid integration technology with polymer-based optical waveguides as a common platform. Depending on the application and needed functionality, different material systems will be combined in a flexible and cost-effective way. These include classic III/V semiconductors for photonic components such as lasers and photodetectors as well as the new material systems such as graphene for light modulation. This modular approach allows for the realization of novel components, which will provide the urgently needed key technology at the interface between optics and high frequency electronics.

Innovations and Perspectives

The components developed in the course of the Phonograph project pave the way towards data rates in the Tbit/s range in for real-world wireless applications. Until now, such data rates are only achievable under laboratory conditions. This will open novel application fields, especially with regards to the increasing interconnection between people and technical devices. Moreover, the developed components also complement HHI’s hybrid integration approach. This will create a platform, which enables the use of integrated optics in yet untapped areas.