First shipments of reprogrammable photonic microchips

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iPronics, said to be the first company to develop plug-and-play, programmable photonic microchips, has announced that it has successfully delivered initial shipments to several companies in distinct sectors.

The iPronics SmartLight Processor improves processing capabilities and moves data at the speed of light. These microchips use up to 10x less power and can be 20x faster than electrical chips while processing far more information, according to iPronics.

This processor allows the reconfiguration of a common photonic hardware platform through user-friendly software and is the first-in-class fully programmable photonic chip, as previous photonic integrated circuits have been fixed-function or application-specific in operation. 

It has many applications throughout emerging markets and technologies, including 5G/6G signal processing, data centres, machine learning, AI, and computing. The programmable nature of this technology will help to unlock a range of new commercial applications as it allows the generation of optical functionalities in software, which critically reduces time to market and total costs for system design, prototyping, and production.

iPronics’ chips have been dispatched to customers in the US and Europe, including a multinational telecommunications and electronics company, a European-based optical networking company and a large US technology company.

The iPronics SmartLight Processor has significant time-to-market and cost benefits. Compared to custom photonic ICs, the development time can be cut from 18 months down to just a couple of weeks. This lowers the total cost and mitigates risk while delivering on the promise of photonic processing: lower power consumption, lower latency, and faster computation.

Commenting Mark Halfman, iPronics CEO, said, “For a company that was founded just prior to the pandemic, it is almost unprecedented to move so swiftly from development to shipping our first commercial orders supporting a variety of applications. This is both a watershed moment for the photonics industry and an exciting time for the company.”