ORIONAS invests in monolithic integration within European BiCMOS and InP foundries to develop integrated optical transceiver and amplifier devices leveraging cost-effective access to high performance technologies through Multi Project Wafer (MPW) runs. In addition, ORIONAS invests in hi-rel module assembly to deliver packaged opto-electronic devices and leverages flight-proven system integration processes to fabricate the next generation satellite laser communication modems.

Key technologies

ORIONAS R&D activities cover the complete “food chain” from material engineering, to integrated circuit fabrication, through opto-electronic module packaging and up to fully assembled space photonic equipment.¬†

BiCMOS ePIC technology

InP high power SOA technology

Module packaging & system integration


BiCMOS ePIC Transceiver Engines

ORIONAS will develop the silicon platform on which electronic and photonic elements will be monolithically co-integrated in a BICMOS process to realize the first “space ePICs”. The photonic components required by lasercom transceivers are realized in the front-end-of-line (FEOL), i.e. at the same level with BiCMOS active electronics, combining electronic and photonic functionality on the same substrate.¬†Within IHP, ORIONAS will fabricate miniaturized fully-monolithic transceiver electronic-photonic integrated circuits (ePICs) squeezing modulators, drivers, demodulators, detectors and TIAs into silicon chip areas of a few mm2. ORIONAS will demonstrate photonic devices with >30 GHz electro-optic bandwidth and low loss fiber-to-chip lateral coupling through 6 um on-chip spot-size conversion.

High Power InP Semiconductor Optical Amplifier

ORIONAS will develop high power SOAs (HP-SOAs) with a targeted output power of 31dBm in the optical fibre. The SOAs will be used to boost the TePIC transmitter optical power in order to compensate the losses of the free space inter-satellite link and close the link budget. The HP-SOAs will be fabricated using InP materials and the gain obtained with quantum wells. Based on III-V heritage in SOA design for telecom and radio over fibre applications, the HP-SOA will be based on the Slab Coupled Optical Waveguide Amplifier (SCOWA) configuration. In order to obtain the best electrical and thermal behaviour, SOAs will be fabricated with the Semi-Insulating Buried Heterostructure (SIBH). Furthermore the amplification will be segmented, so as to optimise the electrical pumping of the different sections of the SOAs.

Hi-REL Opto-electronic Transceiver Modules

ORIONAS will set the basis for the establishment of a European Hi-rel space photonics packaging platform. The ORIONAS platform will attempt for the first time epoxy-free and “all-laser weldable” module constructions; laser welding of all the optics parts within the module as well as the fiber assembly will be attempted for enhanced stability resulting in higher yield, better performance and high reliability. ORIONAS will deliver fully integrated transceiver modules featuring >50 Gb/s aggregate bit rates assembled into hermetic packages as small as 30 mm x 14 mm (LxW) bringing a massive reduction in the real estate of lasercom modems that are currently developed with discrete components.


ORIONAS will design, fabricate and deliver to Thales Alenia Space the bread-board model (BBM) of a lasercom mini-modem (LMM) system that will incorporate the transceiver ePIC modules, the high power SOA and a compact radiation-hard fiber amplifier. The system integration will rely on a high-performance FPGA that will allow to control/manage both transmitter and receiver modules. As such the ORIONAS BBM model will be function equivalent of its flight implementation. The mechanical design of the LMM platform will focus on minimal size/volume and will rely on mounting the opto-electronic modules into “blades” that are populated out-of-plane into a single block. The system will be subjected to functional verification within the Thales Alenia Space lasercom system evaluation test-bed.

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