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Avicena buys glō microLED fab for optical chiplets

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty


Avicena has acquired a US microLED fabrication plant and engineering team previously owned by Swedish startup glō to boost the development of high-speed chiplet interconnects.

glō invested over $200m in the GaN microLED pilot line fab in Sunnyvale, California, before being bought by Nanosys in May 2021 for an undisclosed sum. Avicena had been using the Nanosys fab for the development of unique ultra-fast microLEDs. The acquisition of the fab and associated engineering team significantly increases the development and manufacturing capabilities of Avicena.

“We have already demonstrated LightBundle links running at less than 1pJ/bit and individual microLED links running at 14Gbps NRZ,” says Bardia Pezeshki, founder and CEO of Avicena.

“With the acquisition of the Nanosys microLED development facilities we will be in an excellent position to further advance epitaxy, device process and transfer technology and achieve even lower energy and higher data rates per lane. Compact, low-cost interconnects using hundreds of these links can support a total bandwidth of many terabits per second and help solve the data bottleneck in advanced silicon ICs.”

The facilities include state-of-the-art epitaxy, wafer processing, and lift-off and transfer tools to post-process silicon ICs with optical interfaces. Together with Avicena’s internal ASIC team, the company plans to deliver optical chiplets with high capacity and extremely low power.

Compared to laser or silicon photonics-based interconnects, microLED optical interconnects are well-suited for integration with silicon ICs, lower power, lower cost, and target reaches up to 10m.

“We thank the microLED fab team for their partnership in developing and manufacturing microLEDs as part of Nanosys and wish them well in their future with Avicena,” said Jason Hartlove, President and CEO of Nanosys. “Avicena is an exciting company developing cutting-edge microLED solutions, and we are pleased to have an equity stake and the opportunity to continue to collaborate with them during their next phase of growth.”

Quantum dot developer Nanosys raised $50m in Series B equity and debt financing in July.

Avicena’s LightBundle is based on arrays of GaN microLEDs that can be integrated directly onto high performance CMOS ICs. Each ultra-low power microLED array is connected via a multi-core fibre cable using hundreds of parallel optical lanes to a matching array of CMOS-compatible PDs. This design enables ultra-low power, low-cost multi-Tbps interconnects with up to 10m reach.

The parallel nature of LightBundle is well-matched to parallel chiplet interfaces like UCIe, OpenHBI, and BoW, and can also be used to extend the reach of existing compute interconnects like PCIe/CXL, and HBM/DDR/GDDR memory links, as well as various inter-processor interconnects like NVLink with low power and low latency.

www.avicena.tech

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