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Photonic crystal firm pulls in cash

04 Feb 2004

University of Southampton spin-off raises $10 million in a second funding round.

Mesophotonics, a UK start-up that is commercializing photonic crystal technology, has launched its first products onto the market and received $10 million in second round funding. The Southampton-based firm says that it is now taking orders for its white-light continuum chips -- thumbnail-sized silicon waveguides that emit broadband infrared light.

Applications for the chips span everything from optical coherence tomography to metrology and materials characterization. Last September, John Lincoln from Mesophotonics told Optics.org that they had managed to make a chip that emits a 600 nm wide spectrum centred at 800 nm when it is illuminated with pulse energies as low as 10 nJ.

The venture was founded in 2001 to exploit research carried out by Greg Parker and his team at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre. At the time venture capitalists BTG provided the firm with an initial GBP 2.8 million in funding.

Last week, BTG and a host of other investors including Questor and Auriga Partners invested a further $10 million (GBP 5.5 million) into Mesophotonics in a second round. The cash will be used to accelerate the transition of prototype products from the laboratory to the market place.

“The possible markets for Mesophotonics’ technology are vast and this new funding puts us on a firm footing to complete commercialization of our exciting ideas,” said James McKenzie, Mesophotonics’ CEO. “The team is already designing new products to meet the visible light source demands of next generation projection display and optical storage manufacturers.”

The funding will also help the company expand and recruit more staff. According to its website, it is currently searching for a director of engineering as well as half-a-dozen packaging, process and applications engineers.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

Hyperion OpticsCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.Omicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHEdmund Optics GmbHFocuslight TechnologiesSynopsys, Optical Solutions GroupSPECTROGON AB
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