First shipments of reprogrammable photonic microchips

8th February 2023
Kiera Sowery

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

Operating at the speed of light

The iPronics SmartLight Processor improves processing capabilities and moves data at the speed of light. A photonic microchip uses up to 10x less power and can be 20x faster than electrical chips while processing far more information.

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

The new product 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 unlocks novel 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.

Delivering innovation

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 iPronicsSmartLight Processor stands out from the crowd, as its photonic chip has significant time-to-market and cost benefits. Compared to custom photonic ICs, the development time can be cut from 18 months down to a couple of weeks. This lowers the total cost and mitigates risk for iPronics’ clients while delivering on the promise of photonic processing: lower power consumption, lower latency, and faster computation.

The iPronics SmartLight Processor enables innovative tech companies to continue their cutting-edge silicon photonics work on several fronts such as high-speed optical communications, RF photonics, and neuromorphic computing.

Mark Halfman, iPronics CEO, commented: “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. Today’s announcement is a testament to the vision of the company’s founders and the dedication of the entire team. This is both a watershed moment for the photonics industry and an exciting time for the company.”

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