18 April 2022
PhotonDelta gains €1.1bn funding, including €470m from Netherlands’ National Growth Fund
Integrated photonics industry accelerator PhotonDelta, a cross-border ecosystem of photonic chip technology organizations, has secured €1.1bn in public and private investment (subject to certain conditions, including: agreeing a strategic partnership with a foundry; research activity connected with applications of technology; and ongoing evaluation of PhotonDelta’s ecosystem). As part of the Dutch Government’s national plan to cement and expand the country’s position in integrated photonics, the investment includes €470m obtained through the National Growth Fund (Nationaal Groeifonds), while the rest is co-invested by various partners and stakeholders.
The program will run for six years and enable PhotonDelta and its partners to further invest in photonic startups and scaleups, expand production and research facilities, attract and train talent, drive adoption, and develop a design library. By 2030, PhotonDelta aims to have created an ecosystem with hundreds of companies, serving customers worldwide and a wafer production capacity of 100,000+ per year.
Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) can overcome the expected limit to Moore’s Law and will also help to tackle energy sustainability issues. PICs are currently used in the data and telecom industry to reduce the energy consumption per bit and increase speeds. With data and internet use expected to comprise about 10% of global electricity consumption by 2027, PICs provide a way to limit the impact on the climate. Photonic circuits will also soon play an important role for innovative sensors that can be mass produced, leading to earlier diagnostics of diseases, safe autonomous vehicles and infrastructure, and more efficient food production.
“The ongoing chip shortage highlights the pressing need for Europe to create its own production capabilities for strategic technologies,” says PhotonDelta’s CEO Ewit Roos. “We will now be able to support hundreds of startups, researchers, producers and innovators to boost this industry that will be as impactful as the introduction of microelectronics a few decades ago,” he adds.
“The Netherlands is considered a pioneer in the development of PIC technology, and thanks to the continuous support from the Dutch government, we have been able to build a full supply chain around it that is globally recognized as a hotspot for photonic integration,” Roos continues. “Photonic chips are one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the last decade. Not only do they allow for the creation of devices that are faster, cheaper, more powerful and greener - they also enable radical new innovations like affordable point-of-care diagnostics or quantum computing to become a reality.”
The PhotonDelta proposal was submitted by the Netherland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), University of Twente (UT), Delft University of Technology (TUD), Holst Centre, TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research in Delft), IMEC, PITC (Photonic Integration Technology Center), CITC (Chip Integration Technology Center), OnePlanet, Smart Photonics, Lionix International, Effect Photonics, MantiSpectra, PhotonFirst, Phix, and Bright Photonics.
The PhotonDelta ecosystem currently consists of 26 companies, 11 technology partners and 12 R&D partners. The organization has so far jointly invested €171m in promising photonics companies including Smart Photonics, PhotonsFirst, Surfix, MicroAlign, Solmates and Effect Photonics.