University of South Africa
Overview of innovation

The technology relates to a new generation of telecommunications and data processing technology with improved wavelength sensitivity in the visible and near-infrared wavelengths range rather than microwave communication in 2–4 GHz. The technology provides the realisation of optical sources (LEDs) that can be fabricated directly on silicon chips, thereby overcoming functionality losses and eliminating cross-talk and interference as encountered in current processing technology on-chip. It utilises low silicon processing and manufacturing technology and standard silicon manufacturing procedures such as CMOS, TTL and RF bipolar processing technology. It is able to produce complete photonic systems on-chip more cheaply than current existing technologies. The technology also allows the development of new from chip to environment communications systems (LiFi). Furthermore, its broadband emission characteristics (0.5 to 1.2 microns) make it particularly suitable for the generation of low-cost, on-chip micron-dimensioned gas, analyte and bio-sensor systems that can be realised in a low-cost and multitude context, used in conjunction with data processing technology. This can align with the futuristic Internet of Things (IOT) technology.

Over the past decade, tremendous growth in communication technology has been observed. However, there have been concerns relating to functionality losses and high energy consumption at high bit rates in new emerging technologies. Silicon photonic integrated circuits (SPIC) have been attracting considerable interest owing to their ability to carry data at more affordable cost structures. The realisation of a multitude of sensors on a silicon chip will also be in high demand in future in the current rapidly growing IOT market.

Type of Intellectual Property protection
Innovation Opportunity Type
​Information and communication
Technology Readiness Level
TRL 3 – Proof of concept created