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Lumenisity wins £7.5M investment from consortium

30 Sep 2020

Hollowcore fiber startup backed by investors including BGF and Parkwalk to fund manufacturing and test facility.

University of Southampton spin out Lumenisity, which has developed novel hollowcore fiber optic and cabling technology, has closed a £7.5 million ($9.6M) funding round from a consortium of investors. This includes a £5 million investment from BGF, and £2.5M ($3.2M) from Parkwalk, alongside significant further funding from the company’s existing investors.

Hollowcore fibers, in which light propagates in an air core formed by microscopic capillaries, have long been recognized as the next stage of advancement in fiber optic cable technology. They have advantages over conventional solid glass fibers: optical data travels 50% faster in hollowcore fiber as the light propagates in air, offering the potential for higher data capacity and extended reach due to the 1000x reduction in power-induced non-linear effects, states Lumenisity.

Key challenges have been both the design and manufacturing processes. In particular, for making fibers and to develop the cable and processes for seamless in-field installation in existing and green field networks. Lumenisity has solved many of these challenges in collaboration with the University of Southampton, to create rugged cables designed for deployment in significant lengths for metro networks.

The investment will be used to further commercialize the company's research beyond current products and to build a new manufacturing and testing facility. David Parker, Lumenisity Chairman commented, “The manufacturing and testing facility which we are building in the UK with this investment is set to drive growth for our business and the industry as a whole.”

Mark Byrant from BGF said, “We are delighted to have completed this investment into Lumenisity and to support them on their journey to develop and roll out their pioneering technology. Lumenisity is an exciting company driving real progress in the sector, with strong potential for significant expansion.”

“BGF has a strong track record in the technology sector, and we remain committed to supporting and backing the next generation of strong technology businesses, like Lumenisity, that will help to shape our future.” The investment was led by BGF’s Mark Bryant, George Tsangarides and Zahir Kasmani.

Hollowcore fiber optic cable enables 10G DWDM over 10km

Coincident with the funding news, Lumensity also announced today that it has launched its hollowcore CoreSmart fiber cable solutions for DWDM operation over links in excess of 10km.

Lumenisity’s CoreSmart hollowcore cable uses a nested anti-resonant nodeless fiber (NANF) patented technology. The previous generation of hollowcore design, photonic bandgap fiber (PBGF), is inherently multi-moded and requires complex solutions to reduce the impact of parasitic modes on the hollowcore performance.

The launch statement says, “The new fiber is robustly single-moded, which provides continuous uninterrupted simultaneous single mode transmission at 1310nm, as well as over the full C and L bands and beyond. The advanced NANF technology offers the promise of realizing loss values at, or better than, conventional solid silica core fibers.”

CoreSmart hollowcore cable has losses of ~2dB/km over a wide temperature range – which Luemnisity claims is “the lowest loss deployable hollowcore cable commercially available.” The company added that its cables are being evaluated for much higher data rates over the coming months.

Mike Fake, the company’s director responsible for Product Management, commented, “This is the first of several announcements where we will be exploiting our patented and ground breaking NANF technology to extend reach and bandwidth for our customers.”

Marcus Washco, Global Head of Networks for Jump Trading, an early user of the technology, commented, “The cables we have deployed from Lumenisity have exceeded our performance expectations. We selected Lumenisty as the best in class performing cable we are aware of and an impressive near term roadmap that will allow us to have much longer path lengths in our network”.

Lumenisity was formed in early 2017 as a spin out from the University of Southampton to commercialize breakthroughs in the development of hollow core optical fiber. The company has built a team of industry leaders and experts to realize their goal to be the world’s premier high-performance hollowcore fiber optic cable solutions.

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