Chromosol receives significant funding from Innovate UK to develop its Silicon Photonics 2.0 platform

Chromosol in partnership with Queen Mary University of London has received over £250,000 of grant funding for a £350,000 project to be undertaken under the ‘The Sustainable Innovation Fund’. This funding will allow Chromosol to develop its Silicon Photonics 2.0 platform, expand its current team of scientists and engineers and to begin the commercialisation of its novel technology in the emerging field of silicon photonics.

The technology has the potential to vastly increase the speed of data transfer at significantly reduced energy consumption and could form the basis of next-generation computer systems. There is a well-documented and critical need for higher data transfer rates and lower latency in data centres. This requirement translates directly into the need for improved transceiver technologies both in the data centre environment and for the fronthaul in 5G networks.

In the data centre the requirement for low cost, low power, small form factor and high performance photonics to serve the pre-covid data transfer needs has already necessitated the deployment of advanced Silicon Photonics technologies. This has enabled many of the optical components required in transceivers to be integrated into silicon. However, current silicon photonics is missing a key ingredient – light generation and amplification. Currently laser sources and optical amplifiers are fabricated in different compound semiconductor material systems and then co-packaged with the silicon photonics.

Integrated Silicon-based lasers and amplifiers are therefore a holy grail in the industry with the promise of lower fabrication costs combined with significant reduction in power requirement and increases in efficiency. Chromosol, a spin-out from QMUL, has developed a technology based on a 2-component optical gain and sensitizer system which can be co-evaporated on top of a silicon-based waveguide that has already demonstrated an integrated optical gain of 5dB/cm.

This project will focus on developing the Chromosol technology to take fully integrated silicon photonics into the marketplace and has three main components: Integrated Lasing, Enhancing Lifetime and Enhancing Efficiency. At the conclusion of the 9 month project, and on the back of an enhanced Silicon Photonics 2.0 platform, Chromosol will begin engagement with interested commercial partners.

Professor William Gillin, founder and CTO, said “This grant from Innovate UK has allowed Chromosol to rapidly expand the technical team with the appointment of a Photonics Engineer, Material Scientist, Research Scientist and Organic Chemist. These multidisciplinary skills will be essential in advancing Chromosol’s platform technology”

Paul May, Executive Chairman, said “I started working on integrated silicon photonics with IBM in the 1980’s. Since then the search for a fully-integrated silicon laser technology has been something of a holy grail for the industry. Chromosol has the most credible technology I have seen in the last 30 years to address this goal”

See also: Queen Mary spinout receives further funding to develop new optical communications technology and Chromosol wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

September 2020

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