12 April 2023
New Origin secures €6m PhotonDelta funding to create independent photonic chip foundry
New Origin of Enschede, the Netherlands, which was spun out of the MESA+ NanoLab as a subsidiary of University of Twente Holding, has secured €6m in funding from integrated photonics industry accelerator PhotonDelta – a cross-border ecosystem of photonic chip technology organizations.
The capital will be used to create the Netherland’s first independent photonic chips foundry producing silicon nitride chips. The funding is part of the contribution that the Province of Overijssel has made available to PhotonDelta for a national photonics program.
New Origin says that its foundry will enable companies to produce their own photonic chips, overcoming a hurdle for the photonics industry by substantially reducing costs while also increasing the availability of photonic chips. Applications include data communications, autonomous vehicles (AVs), food production, medical equipment, and aviation.
PhotonDelta’s investment in New Origin is the latest step in its goal to create a world-leading photonics industry in the Netherlands. Last year, PhotonDelta secured €1.1bn in public and private investment to scale up production, build 200 startups, create new applications for photonic chips, and develop infrastructure and talent. So far, PhotonDelta has invested in companies including Scantinel Photonics, Smart Photonics, LioniX International, Quix Quantum and EFFECT Photonics. PhotonDelta has, along with a consortium of investors, invested €335m into photonics companies in total.
New Origin believes that the insights gained from the new foundry will open the door to the large-scale production facilities that will be needed to meet future demand.
“We already have a strong cluster in the region, united in Chiptech Twente, which we can boost considerably this way,” says professor Guus Rijnders, scientific director of MESA+. “Many companies want to experiment with or integrate photonics into their products, however this can be very difficult due to the cost and complexity of producing chips. Our foundry will significantly lower the bar to entry, facilitating more innovation and help the European photonics industry to grow,” he adds.
“New Origin’s foundry is going to play an important role in building Europe’s photonic chip industry,” believes PhotonDelta’s CEO Ewit Roos. “Not only will it help to meet existing demand for chips, it will also gather invaluable insights into how we can create large-scale production facilities. This is a vital step in both making Europe less dependent on other regions for chip technology and unlocking the full potential of integrated photonics,” he adds.
“We can be proud of the strong cluster of companies and knowledge institutions in our province that continue to invest together in the future of European chip technology,” states Eddy van Hijum, Deputy Economy, Finance and Europe Minister at the Province of Overijssel. “Examples include the earlier launch of the Chips Act and now this production facility.”