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18 September 2019

Scintil Photonics raises €4m in first-round funding

Scintil Photonics of Grenoble, France, a fabless developer of silicon photonic fully integrated circuits (comprising multi-wavelength lasers, waveguides, wavelength filters and photodetectors), has raised €4m ($4.4m) in first-round funding led by Supernova Invest, Innovacom and Bpifrance (Banque Public d’Investissement) and joined by Credit Agricole Alpes Développement and endowment Fund Foreis (which focuses on the microelectronics sector).

The firm’s solutions combine silicon (Si) and indium phosphide (InP) materials using wafer-scale bonding of InP on Si and rely on commercial silicon foundry processes to build fully integrated photonic circuits.

Proceeds will be used to develop prototypes (800Gb/s transceiver photonic circuits) in commercial foundries in order to sample strategic customers in the data-center market. The team and development partnerships, including those with CEA-Leti in France and the University of Toronto in Canada, will be strengthened.

Founded in November 2018 by CEO Sylvie Menezo (previously with CEA-Leti) and chairman Pascal Langlois (former CEO of Tronics Microsystems) and incubated at CEA-Leti, Scintil received initial start-up funding as a winner of i-Lab 2018, a French government-sponsored innovation competition hosted by French national investment bank Bpifrance.

“Integrating lasers onto silicon photonic circuits, mass produced in commercial silicon photonics foundries using standard manufacturing processes, is a key technology asset of Scintil,” says Menezo. “This will open up many opportunities, not only in optical communications, but also in computing and sensing applications, such as LiDAR [light detection & ranging]. We look forward to engaging with prospective customers and demonstrating the functionality and performance enhancements that Scintil Photonics can bring,” she adds. “With this first funding round, Scintil will be able to have its demonstrator and prototype circuits manufactured in commercial foundries, which will greatly accelerate our time to market.”

Drawing on over 15 years of research on indium phosphide (InP) lasers, silicon photonics and 3D packaging conducted at CEA-Leti, Scintil says that its technology enables higher-speed optical communication through the integration of multi-wavelength lasers with silicon photonics standard technology, and also reduces implementation costs by avoiding several packaging steps. Improving data-center efficiency is one of industry’s major challenges. Besides developing solutions for high-speed data transmission, Scintil also targets sensing applications, such as LiDAR (an enabling technology for autonomous detection and mobility).

“We firmly believe in Scintil Photonics’ ability to implement the seamless integration of III-V semiconductor material on silicon,” comments Supernova Invest’s investment director Christophe Desrumaux. “In particular, the collective manufacturing of lasers - reducing the cost of mass-producing fully integrated photonic circuits while improving the energy efficiency and other critical parameters - is a key differentiator in penetrating the market of data-center transceivers and sensors. It matches perfectly Supernova Invest’s ambition to support game-changing deep-tech startups,” he adds.

“Scintil Photonics aims to develop optical data interconnections over 800Gb/s at a very competitive cost and is uniquely positioned to address industry challenges in very high-speed data communication. This investment is an excellent illustration of our commitment to supporting Deep Tech companies,” says Marion Aubry, investment director at Bpifrance’s Digital Venture team.

“Today, 80% of data transmission occurs over short distances and inside data centers. For this type of application, higher bit rates, cost and power consumption are critical factors,” notes Innovacom partner Vincent Deltrieu. “Scintil Photonics’ technology and products address those challenges, and the company is a great example of the highly innovative digital start-ups and disruptive technologies Innovacom successfully supports,” he adds.

Tags: InP silicon photonics PIC

Visit: www.scintil-photonics.com

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