A research team from the Department of Photonics (DoP), National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), developed a “Silicon photonics integrated circuit and fiber optic gyroscope apparatus” for inertial navigation. This technology greatly reduces the size and cost of a photonic gyroscope to 10% while maintaining its tactical-grade performance, which is at least ten times more accurate than commercially available MEMS-counterparts.
This technology will find applications in satellites, drones, autonomous vehicles, and robots. NSYSU and Azimuth Avionics Pty Ltd (AA), an Australian Avionics navigation module developer, today signed an international technology transfer agreement authorizing AA to commercialize this technology. The total non-exclusive licensing fee is TWD$ 16 million. This collaboration will assist in the development of the Avionics industry in Taiwan and strengthen scientific and technological exchanges between Taiwan and Australia.
According to Prof. Yung-Jr Hung of the DoP at NSYSU, Silicon photonics is a cutting-edge technology that has attracted considerable attention in the past decade. The use of light to transmit and process signals enables many advantages, such as ultra-high bandwidth, high resolution, low power consumption, and immunity to electromagnetic interference. Silicon photonics have been employed in sensing, optical interconnection, the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, and biomedical applications, making it a breakthrough solution. Artificial intelligence (AI) has gradually become a prominent research focus in recent years. The demand for high-performance computing has continued to rise. To improve the speed and efficiency of moving large amounts of data, international semiconductor giants, including TSMC, Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and other companies are actively investing in the development of silicon photonics technology. As early as 2013, the research team of the DoP of NSYSU began to jointly establish silicon photonics technology with domestic industry partners for communications, computing, and sensing. In 2018, the research team was awarded the Silicon Photonics Elite Project from the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), Taiwan, to develop silicon photonics gyroscope chips. This laid the foundation for this international collaboration and technology transfer.
Ying-Yao Cheng, the President of NSYSU, Yung-Jr Hung, Professor of DoP of NSYSU, and Philip Rowse, Director of AA, confirmed the international technology transfer in a signing ceremony for the “Silicon photonics integrated circuit and fiber optic gyroscope apparatus” at NSYSU today. President Ying-Yao Cheng emphasized that Prof. Hung has been co-developing key technologies for silicon photonics components with TSMC for many years, engaged in the development of photonic gyroscopes since 2014, and was the recipient of the 2023 FutureTech Award from NSTC. His silicon photonics gyroscope greatly reduces the size and cost to 10%, which will greatly help application scenarios such as low-orbit satellite positioning, autonomous driving, and underwater or underground rescue. This cooperation will help enhance bilateral scientific and technological exchanges between Taiwan and Australia and assist the development of the Avionics industry in Taiwan.
Philip Rowse, Director of AA, said silicon photonics gyroscope technology is quite forward-looking. Compared with military-grade gyroscopes, their development potential has significant size and cost advantages. This cooperation aims to commercialize the technology and connect the mid-to-high-end market. Related products will also be produced in Taiwan in the future.
Yung-Jr Hung further said that AA has been paying attention to silicon photonics gyroscopes for more than a year. Their collaboration started when they first met at an international conference in April 2023. In December 2023, he and NSYSU representatives visited AA and successfully demonstrated the gyroscope prototype developed by both parties to the local government officials and well-known drone manufacturers that AA cooperated with. He looks forward to opening up long-term bilateral cooperation and more innovative technology research between AA and NSYSU.