Twente foundry backed by €140M public funding

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Twente has secured 140 million euros in subsidies to support its photonics and electronics cluster. The money comes from public ‘growth funds’ Quantum Delta NL, Photondelta and Nxtgen Hightech. For the previously announced microsystems foundry New Origin, 70 million euros in public support has been set aside, to be supplemented by 25 million euros in private investment, Chiptech Twente program manager Marieke Stokkelaar confirmed to Bits&Chips. The remainder of the subsidies will flow into R&D programs for technologies that sooner or later might be manufactured in the foundry, including integrated photonics, electronics, quantum chips and microfluidics.

Artist impression of the New Origin foundry. Credit: University of Twente

The foundry was first announced last year as a scale-up operation of the University of Twente’s Nanolab cleanroom, which has traditionally been used for both research and commercial purposes. But since it was getting increasingly difficult to combine these activities, the university took the lead in setting up a commercial facility for the benefit of the local high-tech industry. Eventually, this will become a stand-alone company.

Initially, the New Origin foundry will focus on silicon nitride-based integrated photonics, developed by Enschede-based company Lionix into a mature platform that’s ready to scale to higher volumes. In parallel, UT and the local ecosystem will work on expanding the functionality of silicon nitride for other applications, focusing in particular on heterogeneous integration. Stokkelaar says these plans are still being finalized with the local industry, which hasn’t committed to funding yet.