Twente-based photonics foundry finds funding

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A newly founded foundry for integrated photonics has secured a 6-million-euro investment from Photondelta. A spinoff from the Mesa+ Nanolab at the University of Twente, New Origin will use the funds to build the first independent manufacturing facility for silicon nitride (SiN) integrated photonic chips in the Netherlands. The move is part of Twente’s efforts to take its electronic design and manufacturing prowess to the next level.

Among many flavors available in integrated photonics, SiN technology stands out for its low light losses and its broad spectral coverage. The former aspect enables more complex circuitry, whereas the latter unlocks additional applications. For example, being transparent in the visible-light range, SiN-integrated photonic chips can be used in AR headsets. Other applications include sensing and photonic quantum computing.

A SiN chip created by Lionix. Credit: Lionix

New Origin is an important step in establishing a world-class integrated photonics industry in the Netherlands, says Mesa+ scientific director Guus Rijnders. “Many companies want to experiment with photonics or integrate the technology into their products. This is complicated by the cost and complexity of chip production. The new facility significantly lowers the barrier to entry, enabling more innovation and growth of the European photonics industry.”

Photondelta CEO Ewit Roos adds: “Not only will it help meet existing demand for chips, but it will also provide invaluable insights into how we can create large-scale production facilities. This is an essential step in making Europe less dependent on other regions for chip technology and unlocking the full potential of integrated photonics.”