17 Jun 2002
Inventor of the photonic crystal wins USD 7 million to launch start-up.
Eli Yablonovitch, the inventor of the photonic crystal, has set up a company to commercialize nanophotonic integrated circuits.
Called Luxtera, the company has received USD 7 million first-round funding from Sevin Rosen Funds, August Capital and ITU Ventures. The firm claims its technology will "revolutionize the dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) market by integrating all of the optical and electronic elements necessary to build multi-channel DWDM systems on a single chip".
Luxtera's technology is based on photonic crystal research carried out by Yablonovitch, at the University of California at Los Angeles, US, and microlaser research carried out by Axel Scherer from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, US. Scherer's group has used photonic crystals to make some of the smallest ever lasers with volumes of only 0.03 cubic micron.
According to Luxtera's CEO, Alex Dickinson, the company has acquired the simulation software company Simulant and will also be "partnering with major semiconductor firms" to manufacture its products. The company will be using standard lithography techniques to integrate electronic and optical structures on a chip.
Luxtera's technology is fully compatible with standard CMOS processing. This, says Yablonovitch, will radically reduce the cost of optical-electronic transitions and fundamentally change the cost structure of optoelectronic systems. He claims this design could eliminate many of the advantages of all-optical systems.
Nadya Anscombe is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.