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ELENA will develop the first European LNOI PIC (photonics integrated circuit) plateform, accessible to all interested entities in the form of an open foundry service. 

Publié le 31 mars 2022

European electro-optic and nonlinear PIC platform based on lithium niobate

The ELENA project promises to benefit the entire photonics sector by developing the first European lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI)-based platform for photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and establishing the first open-access foundry service for LNOI technology. 


Starting date : January 2022 to 30 June 2025   
Lifetime:42 months

Program in support : H2020


Status project : in progress

CEA-Leti's contact Lucie Le Van-Jodin   
Christophe Billard                                



Project Coordinator: CSEM (Dr. Amir Ghadimi )

Project Management OfficerMagali Mares 


  • Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), Switzerland

  • SOITEC SA (SOITEC), France

  • VPIphotonics GmbH (VPI), Germany

  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), Switzerland 

  • Vanguard Automation GmbH (VA), Germany

  • THALES SA (THALES), France

  •  III-V LAB (III-V LAB), France

  • Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik GmbH & Co. KG (ROS), Germany

  • L-up SAS (LUP), France; 10) CEA-LETI (LETI), France

Target market: n/a


  •  ELENA is an acronym for the project title “European electro-optic and nonlinear PIC platform based on lithium niobate.” 

  • The project consortium aims to reinvent one of the oldest and bestknown photonics materials – lithium niobate – in the form of a thin film on silicon substrates to be used as a standard PIC platform and benefit from miniaturization, cost reduction, and scalable manufacturing of PICs. 

  • ELENA will pave the way for the world's first open-access PIC foundry for LNOI technology based on a Process Design Kit (PDK) library. The platform will be open to all interested stakeholders from the photonics industry and R&D at an affordable price. ELENA also plans to develop a fully European industrial supply chain for LNOI technology including LNOI wafer manufacturing, a highyield fabrication process for foundry service, a design software to incorporate the PDK, and Press Release - FEBRUARY 2022. 

  • This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 101016138 packaging and interfacing of LNOI PICs. The partnership includes end users who will demonstrate the use of the technology and validate the results by developing PICs for applications in telecom, quantum technologies and microwave photonics.


  •  LNOI is one of the most promising emerging platforms for PICs. It comprises a unique set of interesting optical properties such as: a high electro-optic coefficient, high intrinsic second- and third-order nonlinearities, and a large transparency window (350 – 5500 nm). Recent advances in the bonding of single crystal thin films of lithium niobate onto silicon substrates have opened a new avenue to explore the advantages of lithium niobate in the context of PICs. The existing European PIC platforms are based on other photonic materials than LNOI, such as silicon (Si), silicon nitride (SiN) and indium phosphide (InP), each offering different functionalities. LNOI will be a novel and complementary addition to this family as it offers new and improved functionalities at a wide range of wavelengths (from visible to mid-infrared). This includes ultrahigh-speed electro-optic modulators (>100 GHz) with very low operating voltages (Vπ<1V), fast optical switches, fast tune able resonators and lasers, and nonlinear wavelength conversion on a chip. These new functionalities will benefit a broad range of applications including quantum technologies, telecom, LiDAR, and sensing.

  • Summary of main project goals : Besides a high-yield fabrication process and the PDK library, ELENA intends to set up a fully European supply chain for the new LNOI platform to support its industrial scale-up. This includes: 

  1. establishing a process to produce 150 mm optical grade LNOI wafers on an industrial scale; 
  2. developing a reliable and flexible packaging solution to interface LNOI chips with optical fibres and other PIC platforms; 
  3. demonstrating the technology and validating the results by developing four PIC prototypes designed for different use cases: telecom, quantum technologies and microwave photonics.


  • By developing the first European lithium niobate on insulator (LNOI)-based PIC platform, the ELENA project promises to benefit the entire photonics sector offering enhanced performance and new functionalities for:
  1. ultra-high-speed telecom networks
  2. optical signal processing
  3. programmable PICs
  4. sensing and spectroscopy
  5. LIDAR applications
  6. quantum information processing and quantum computing.