Lumotive LLC (Redmond, Washington), a startup which develops liquid crystal metasurface optical beam steering chips, has raised $13 million in funding led by Samsung Ventures.
This brings the amount raised by Lumotive since the company was founded in 2017 to more than $56 million. The company is also backed by Bill Gates.
The company said it would use the money to accelerate the development and customer delivery of optical semiconductor devices that enable the next generation of lidar sensors.
The liquid crystal metasurface allows an incident laser beam to be reflected in a programmable direction, depending on the electronic configuration of the metamaterial elements on the surface of the chip. This has the advantage of zero inertia beam steering, arbitrary scan partners multiple beams in a single device. Latency is reduced and interactive modes are possible. Lumotive makes use of a 130nm CMOS process with copper in the back-end-of-line from Tower Semiconductor, to meet its optical performance requirements. Lumotive’s lidar also makes use of a custom silicon photomultiplier sensor made from single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) technology from Tower.
Lumotive claims that more than two dozen companies are engaged with Lumotive to utilize its metasurface chips to develop next-generation lidar systems for autonomy, automation, and augmented reality (AR) markets.
“We believe Lumotive’s innovative optical semiconductor chips will disrupt the consumer and industrial segments of the 3D sensor market,” said Andrew Kim, CEO of Uniquest. “We are very excited to form a long-term partnership with Lumotive as an investor, and to represent the company and promote its products in South Korea.”