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Posted: Sep 24, 2010

UGent and Imec Launch Silicon Photonics Spin-off Caliopa

(Nanowerk News) Ghent University (UGent) and imec today announced the creation of Caliopa, a spin-off from their world leading Photonics Research Group. An initial 2 million Euro in funding was raised from Baekeland, Fidimec, PMV-Vinnof, a private investor and the founders. Caliopa will develop and market advanced silicon photonics based optical transceivers for the data and telecommunications markets.
According to the latest Market Forecast from LightCounting LLC, the premier market research firm for optical communications, the global sales of optical transceivers will reach $2.4 billion in 2010, with the market posting a 13% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2011 and 2014, as the industry catches up with the steadily growing demand for bandwidth.
"Multiple optical components can be replaced with a single optical chip by using silicon photonics allowing us to develop small, highly integrated and low power optical transceivers. The ability to make these silicon photonics components at standard CMOS manufacturing facilities also makes it commercially very attractive" commented Martin De Prycker, CEO of Caliopa. "Key potential customers have expressed great interest in Caliopa's solutions stating that port density and power consumption are the major concerns in driving the growth of optical networks."
Caliopa will be able to build on the know-how, intellectual property and experience of years of research by the world renowned Photonics Research Group at Ghent University and imec led by Prof. Roel Baets. In addition, it will use the expertise in silicon processing of the world-leading nanoelectronics research center imec. To develop its first products, the company raised 2 million Euro in funding from a consortium of investors led by Baekeland, Fidimec and PMV-Vinnof.
Caliopa currently counts 7 team members, composed of technical experts from imec/UGent and industry veterans with over 75 years cumulative management experience in the high tech industry. The company is planning to double this team in the next 12 months.
About Silicon Photonics
Silicon photonics offers the possibility of large cost savings (in materials, components, and energy consumption) and a significant increase in capabilities. The ability to use standard microelectronic CMOS manufacturing facilities and processes makes silicon photonics commercially very attractive. The sub-micron precision of these standard microelectronic CMOS processes allow for silicon photonics components to integrate a variety of optical functions in a very small chip that consumes far less power than traditional optical components. The decades of experience making (electronic) chips from silicon as well as the installed base of (silicon) semiconductor manufacturing capacity can be leveraged to build highly integrated low-cost optical components for a variety of applications. The performance, enabled by the high accuracy of the semiconductor manufacturing tools, is an important benefit but of even more interest is the potential to lower costs and increase volume production, much as it is in the regular semiconductor industry. Silicon photonics technology has become mature enough to potentially disrupt the component supply-side of electronic and telecom/datacom markets.
About Caliopa
Caliopa aspires to be a market leader in advanced optical transceivers for the data and telecommunication markets. The company was incorporated in 2010 as a spin-off of the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University and imec to commercialize a decade of research in Silicon Photonics. Benefitting from the advantages of Silicon Photonics, Caliopa will develop and market optical transceivers that offer advanced functionality, higher port density and lower power consumption. Caliopa is privately held by a consortium of investors including Baekeland, FIDIMEC, Vinnof and private investors.
About imec
Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2009, imec's revenue (P&L) was 275 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut"), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.).
Source: imec (press release)
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