Cambridge graphene startup raises £1.2m for 6G, quantum

Cambridge graphene startup raises £1.2m for 6G, quantum

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

CamGraPhIC in Cambridge, UK, has raised £1.26m (€1.5m, $1.5m) for its graphene telecoms and datacoms technology and plans to start tests with customers.

Frontier IP and Wealth Club led the round, following previous funding of £1.6m last September, valuing the company at £7.2 million.

CamGraPhIC is a spinout of the University of Cambridge developing graphene-based photonics technology for scalable, faster and cheaper optical transceivers, high-speed data and telecommunications networks and photonic quantum computers.

The funding will be used to complete fabrication and testing of the demonstration devices. Customer testing is expected to begin in September 2022.

Other applications include 6G millimetre wave which will allow data to be transferred at speeds up to 1 terabit per second, High Performance Computing (HPC) and AI networks. Current versions of the technology have indicated speeds of up to 100Gbit/s per lane and operation across multiple wavebands. Their speed is about twice that achieved in laboratory conditions by equivalent technologies, while the energy consumption is project to be 70% less.

The company develops IP for graphene-based Electro Absorption Modulators (EAMs), Photodetectors (PDs), and Phase Modulators that can be integrated with other materials such as silicon nitride. The IP support speeds of 100+Gbit/s NRZ per optical channel for EAM and PD device designs with single-chip, multi-channel flexible configurations up to 1Tbit/s and integrated and dedicated driving electronics in uncooled operation over 100°C.

This can be used for ultra-fast short-reach optical links at lower cost for 5G and 6G intra-antenna optical connectivity as well as sub-THz antenna elements for 6G. It can also be used for next generation electro-optical interface engines for intra-datacentre transceivers, whether pluggable modules, on-board optics or co-packaged optics and optical connectivity for machine learning processors. The company also points to photonic quantum computing as a possible application.

“As a significant existing shareholder (20.9%) in the Company, we were delighted to be able to support CamGraPhIC for the second time. Wealth Club clients invested over £800,000 in this latest round, and having previously invested £1.5m, giving the business the best opportunity to ramp up progress in a race to become the first to launch this exciting new technology to market,” said Alex Davies, CEO and Founder of Wealth Club.

“CamGraPhIC presents an opportunity for our clients to invest in an exciting early-stage technology business, with the benefit of the EIS tax scheme. The company has the potential to be a leading manufacturer of next-generation optical devices for use in global 5G markets. While still under development, the products appear to be delivering performance at low cost and have achieved key milestones since the last funding round.”

Sir Michael Rake, the former chair of BT Group plc, is an investor in CamGraPhIC and will be joining its board of directors by the end of year. He is currently advising the company on an informal basis.

Paul Mantle, Chief Executive Officer, CamGraPhIC, said: “We are delighted to progress this funding round. Our graphene-based photonics technology has the potential to transform high-speed data and telecommunications. We look forward to evaluating the technology with customers and receiving the first results.”

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