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BB Photonics locates in UK with $1m investment plan

02 Jul 2015

US photonics receiver developer establishes operation in Torbay, UK, aiming to launch 100G and 400G products in 2016.

US-owned BB Photonics UK has opened a new facility in Plymouth University’s Brixham Laboratory in Torbay, South West England. The company is in an incubator environment alongside other Torbay Hi Tech Forum members Effect Photonics and Bay Photonics.

BB Photonics UK is working on the research and development of advanced photonic receivers for 100GbE and 400GbE communications. The company is specifically developing high-speed devices using waveguide photodiodes that operate at 25Gb/s and 50Gb/s. These are incorporated into the photonic circuit platform with wavelength de-multiplexers that enable transmission of higher data rates.

The company says it plans to invest “close to $1 million” over the course of the next three years and to create several high-tech research and development engineering positions. The research and development will be based on its photonic circuits and focusing principally on high speed RF packaging and test. The company is applying for additional grants in the UK to support the R&D effort and is setting up a high-speed RF test and optical characterization lab.

The company is currently sponsoring a research associate position at the University of Glasgow on high speed RF characterization and working with University of Swansea on advanced film deposition. The nearby Electron Microscopy Centre at Plymouth University is providing the company with device analysis services for its photonic circuits.

Experienced team

Bill Ring, CEO & President told optics.org, “Our plan is to invest in UK facility over next three years and grow the number of people there. The investment program and cash situation of BB Photonics is confidential as we are a private company.

"The plan initially with Brixham is for research and development including RF testing, package development and device characterization. We are currently setting up the RF and optical laboratory. Prototypes will be built with a partner for the packaged product. We are expecting to release first products in 2016.”

The other BB Phonics leadership team members are physicist Bob Musk, VP of Engineering, who has 50 years experience in microelectronics and optoelectronics systems development, and Mirek Florjanczyk, Principal Scientist and company founder, an applied scientist with background in engineering physics and quantum optics.

Jason Buck, Investment Development Manager at Torbay Development Agency, said, “We are excited to be working with BB Photonics UK Ltd on their next phase of growth and as a US owned company are very pleased they chose Torbay to do this. They know that the reputation and expertise within Torbay’s photonics cluster in R&D, design and new product development can support their growth.”

The Torbay Hi Tech Forum cluster and BB Photonics are members of the European Photonics Industry Consortium and will be looking to generate further Foreign Direct Investment into Torbay. This is driven in large part by the new Torbay Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC), opening in early 2017 at Whiterock in Paignton, which is intended to provide a suitable ideal location for photonics companies in R & D wishing to be in a collaborative space to work from and attract further investment from hi-tech sector companies.

BB Photonics background

BB Photonics UK’s launch statement said, “Today, both parallel and serial data transfer can be employed to decrease the latency and increase the aggregate bandwidth of the fiber optic connection. BB Photonics is developing a platform approach to the integration of photonic functions.

”The technology approach can be applied across a range of material systems to enable both routing and optical-electrical conversion. The technology is applicable to wavelength multiplexing and de-multiplexing and signal routing in both vertical and horizontal directions. The initial device applications for the platform method is photonic integrated circuit for the 100Gbit Ethernet market. Photonic integration will enable lower cost, higher speed and smaller footprint for 100G transceivers.”

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