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5 August 2019

Ovum acknowledges Rockley’s unique approach to silicon photonics

In its latest silicon photonics market report, data, research and consulting business Ovum recognizes that Rockley Photonics of Pasadena, CA, USA has an approach to silicon photonics (SiPh) that is fundamentally different to other suppliers.

Rockley was formed in 2013 by a management team that has previously had technical and commercial success with two silicon photonics companies. Founder & CEO Andrew Rickman founded the first firm to commercialize silicon photonics, Bookham Technology (which had an IPO in 2000, became Oclaro in 2009 and is now a part of Lumentum), and later became chairman of Kotura (sold to Mellanox in 2013). Rockley has developed a highly versatile, third-generation silicon photonics platform specifically designed for the optical I/O challenges facing next-generation sensor systems and communications networks.

Rockley’s photonic technology platform was developed with a focus on high-volume manufacture of highly integrated optical/electronic devices for high-performance applications. Exploiting optimized waveguide dimensions, it is said to offer significant benefits over conventional solutions including the production of higher-density optical circuits, the ability to create more complex integration, better manufacturing tolerances, superior power handling, lower loss and higher-efficiency photonic IC interfaces. The firm says that its technology can be adapted to be application specific, while simplifying manufacturing, assembly, test and validation, and optimizing power, size and cost of complex optical systems.

“Instead of trying to force the silicon chip manufacturing into a silicon photonics solution, Rockley has developed its technology focused on how the silicon chip manufacturing can be modified to be used for SiPh engines,” the report says. “The result is a large waveguide photonics platform that offers multiple benefits over conventional solutions.”

“Rockley started from a clean sheet and has designed a process that is bespoke for SiPh,” comments Lisa Huff, principle analyst, Optical Components. “Results demonstrate that its technology enables low-power, cost-effective optical modules. By incorporating all the transceiver functions in the chip, Rockley can integrate optical transceiver functionality directly inside its OptoASIC package, delivering on the highly versatile capability of the platform,” she adds.

“Because photons behave differently to electrons, silicon photonics requires bespoke processes and solutions to realize the technology’s full potential,” notes Rockley’s founder & chief executive Andrew Rickman. “Our unique manufacturing processes, expertise and solutions put us several years ahead of the competition,” he claims.

Rockley’s technology is relevant to communication interconnect applications and is already being considered in AI compute cluster environments – liberating data from the constraints of electrical connections, notes the report. The technology also has potential for sensor applications, e.g. in healthcare, biosensing, 3D laser imaging, and autonomous vehicles. “Applying photonics to sensors can unlock extraordinary applications,” Rickman concludes.

See related items:

Rockley Photonics raises $52m in first close of Series E investment round

Rockley extends strategic partnership with Hengtong, expanding joint venture

Rockley completes silicon photonics platform in large-scale foundry environment

Tags: Silicon photonics

Visit: www.rockleyphotonics.com

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