Home > Research > Priority Projects in Research > DFG Priority Programme 2111

DFG Priority Programme 2111

Electronic-photonic signal processing for ultra-fast and more energy-efficient systems

The goal of the Priority Programme is to disrupt the limitations of conventional electronic signal processing by means of electronic-photonic signal processing. Based on the fascinating possibilities of emerging nanophotonic-nanoelectronic integration technologies, it will be investigated as to how a paradigm shift from purely electronic signal processing to electronic-photonic signal processing will improve circuits, algorithms and systems.

Optical signal processing has tremendous advantages with respect to speed (bandwidth) and it is typically much more energy-efficient than electronic signal processing. Furthermore, optical signal transmission is less lossy. On the other hand, microprocessors are very cost-efficient, use extremely small processing elements – transistors – can store data, are programmable by means of software and they allow for sophisticated signal processing algorithms and system architectures.

Nowadays, optical and electronic circuits are still clearly separated domains. In recent years, photonic-electronic integration technologies, such as silicon photonics, have advanced significantly. Especially silicon photonics technology offers, for the first time, the possibility to combine optical devices together with digital processors, memory and software on a single chip. It allows for miniaturised optics, close proximity of optics and electronics, improves speed and reduces energy consumption and size. These new possibilities will allow for breaking up the paradigm of separate domains of optical and electronic signal processing and makes it necessary to rethink fundamentally how signal processing circuits, algorithms, signal processors, communication networks etc. should be realized in order to exploit the full potential of nanophotonic/nanoelectronic inte­grated systems.

The goal of the Priority Programme is to investigate the potential of electronic-photonic integration and signal processing from a system perspective. In interdisciplinary teams, researchers from physics, electrical engineering and computer sciences conduct research on novel electronic-photonic circuits, algorithms, systems, communication networks and sensors. Currently, the German Research Foundation (DFG) funds 11 projects, with 17 Principle Investigators and 22 PhD students. The SPP 2111 started in July 2018 with a joint kick-off meeting at the Heinz Nixdorf Institute.