With advancing digitalisation, networked devices are penetrating more and more areas of daily life. However, these are often vulnerable to cyber attacks; in the past, many end consumers, such as users of online services, were affected in addition to industry and business. A German consortium of industry and university and scientific institutes wants to make these systems more secure in the future thanks to light-based data transmission and calculation. The "Silhouette" project (Silicon Photonics for Trusted Electronic Systems) will develop universally applicable solutions over the next three years. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) is involved in Silhouette with its "Photonic Components" department. The BMBF is funding the project with around 12 million euros as part of the "Trusted Electronics" initiative.
The aim of the project is to develop a photonics electronics platform that enables flexible connection of photonic components to open processor systems via standardised optical and electrical interfaces. This allows security functions to be realised photonically, which increases trustworthiness by improving eavesdropping security. The integrity of the security-relevant function blocks is guaranteed by so-called Built-In-Self-Test procedures. In addition to the development of electronic and photonic basic components, assembly and interconnection technologies as well as manufacturing processes for electro-optical integration in a production line are also being developed.
Innovations and Perspectives
In addition to the development of trustworthy electronics, the modular integration of photonic components creates the basis for numerous new applications such as data processing with photonic neural networks.
The consortium consists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS from Dresden as project coordinator, the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM from Berlin with its institute branch IZM-ASSID in Moritzburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications HHI from Berlin with its department Photonic Components, the Institute for Packaging and Interconnection Technology (IAVT) and the Integrated Photonic Devices (IPD) group of the TU Dresden, the technology developer and manufacturer OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. Photonic Components, the Institute of Packaging and Interconnection Technology (IAVT) and the Integrated Photonic Devices (IPD) group of TU Dresden, the technology developer and manufacturer OSRAM Opto Semiconductors from Regensburg and the quantum optics developer and marketer qutools from Munich. The research period extends from 2021 to 2024