AES Semigas


28 June 2021

Alter setting up photonics design center in Scotland

As part of TÜV NORD Group (one of Germany’s largest technical service providers), Alter Technology TÜV NORD, which provides micro- and optoelectronics services in engineering, procurement, assembly and test for the space and harsh-environment sectors, is establishing a photonics design center in Scotland, UK, according to Technology Scotland Ltd, which represents the emerging & enabling (E&E) technology organizations in the country.

The new design center will be strategically set up in the central belt of Scotland to tap into the strong quantum and space funding landscape in the UK and to be close to the vibrant Scottish photonics, quantum and space eco-system and talent pool.

The center will focus on supporting the group’s development of highly integrated, miniaturized robust photonic products to be used in the quantum-enabled positioning, navigation & timing systems and photonic-based satellite optical communications. It will complement the existing global manufacturing, test, qualification and sales operations of the Alter Technology Group.

Alter Group will allocate about €6m to the design center and its UK manufacturing site in the next 3-5 years to fund equipment, facilities, personnel and other R&D costs. The existing Livingston, UK-based manufacturing site will also benefit from additional investment in associated robotics-based manufacturing equipment and processes for photonic products.

“Today’s investment builds upon the significant progress already made within Alter UK on laser products for quantum applications and optical transceivers for intra-satellite communications and will provide the resources and expertise to exploit these emerging and growing markets fully,” says Stephen Duffy, CEO of Alter Technology TUV NORD UK. “Funding from the UK National Quantum Program and UKSA and the close co-operation with UK universities and research and technology organizations have been a key factor in locating this center in the UK,” he adds.

“The announcement today marks Alter Group’s further expansion in the UK following our acquisition of photonic and microelectronic manufacturing services company Optocap Ltd in 2016,” notes Luis Gomez, Alter Group’s CEO and chairman of TÜV NORD’s Aerospace business unit. “Since that time, we have significantly grown our core manufacturing services offering and made significant progress in our photonic product portfolio. The opportunities for photonics to enable new quantum and space applications are huge but require significant advancements in both design and advanced manufacturing technologies. We are confident that this investment will position the group well in these future areas and trends,” he adds.

“TÜV NORD Group is already a leader in the area of post-quantum cryptography and is driving the certification and standard activities for many of the new and emerging quantum applications,” claims TÜV NORD AG’s chairman Dirk Stenkamp. “As part of our 2025 Strategy, we see photonics, quantum, space and secure comms as key enabling technologies to address many of the global mega-trends. We view this design center as a key step to keep TUV NORD at the forefront of crucial technological innovations for the next few decades,” he adds. “We are delighted to support our Aerospace business unit and Alter UK with this investment and look forward to growing our presence further in the UK.”

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CSC involved in UK National Quantum Technologies Programme projects

Tags: Quantum computing