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imec, TNO join forces on integrated photonics

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By Nick Flaherty


TNO in the Netherlands and imec in Belgium have signed a deal to work together on integrated photonics.

Both research centres have each been working on photonics innovations for some time, but will now join forces to accelerate the development of the photonics industry in the Netherlands, Belgium and Europe.

The collaboration will start in 2023 within Holst Centre, the research and innovation centre on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, in which imec and TNO have been collaborating since 2005. Holst Centre plays an active role in PhotonDelta’s National Growth Fund proposal (€1.1bn for a European photonics supply chain)  and will further strengthen its position as a knowledge centre.

In integrated photonics, photonic components are integrated into a microchip, following a manufacturing process that builds on that of a conventional electronic chip. It combines the properties of photonics and microchips, allowing information to be transferred and processed faster and more efficiently, saving energy.

Applications with integrated photonics could lead, for example, to reduced energy consumption of data centres, safer autonomous cars, fine-grained measurement of food quality and better personalised diagnostics in healthcare.

Integrated photonics will be one of the new pillars in Holst Centre’s strategy. Together with partners from the PhotonDelta ecosystem, including Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Twente, Photonics Integration Technology Center and other organisations, it aims to accelerate the development of the European industry around integrated photonics.

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“The signing of this agreement is a milestone in the collaboration between TNO and imec. It is an ambitious challenge and a unique opportunity, bringing together the expertise of both organisations to put the Netherlands and Belgium even firmer on the map in the field of photonics,” said Kathleen Philips, director imec at Holst Centre

Ton van Mol, director TNO at Holst Centre: “We will combine imec’s photonic microchip technology in Leuven, imec’s design expertise in the Netherlands and TNO’s optics and systems integration knowledge to help develop new sustainable solutions in different industries.”  

www.imec-int.com; www.holstcentre.com

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