Photonic gyro startup raises funds, works with Tower Semi

Photonic gyro startup raises funds, works with Tower Semi

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The company has partnered with specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd. who will offer the process for other applications.

The company’s silicon photonic optical gyroscope (SiPhOG) replaces the discrete optical components of a traditional FOG and combines precision with reduced size, weight, power and cost. The company claims its SiPhOG technology is superior to both FOG and MEMS traditional gyroscopes. Similar gyroscopes based on Fiber Optic Gyroscope (FOG) or MEMS are used extensively in automotive, construction, drones, aerospace, defense and consumer electronics.

The company was co-founded in 2018 by CEO Mario Paniccia who was previously an Intel Fellow and CTO of Intel’s silicon photonics group.

The Series A funding was led by New Legacy Ventures and included investments from Lockheed Martin Ventures, Catapult Ventures, JS Capital, Hardware Club, and investments from individuals based in Silicon Valley.

The technology combines an Anello-developed on-chip waveguide manufacturing process integrated with a patented silicon photonic chip-scale gyroscope. “We are bringing all the benefits of optical gyro performance onto an integrated silicon photonic circuit platform,” said Pannicia, in a statement. Anello’s first generation sensor is targeted at safety-critical navigation applications for autonomous vehicles and aerospace.

The foundry version of the manufacturing process will enable adoption of the low-loss silicon nitride waveguide process for a range of markets including automotive LiDAR, bio-sensing, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, microwave photonics and optical communications, Tower said.

The waveguide technology offers a propagation loss of 0.005dB/cm at 1550nm wavelengths with a minimum bend radius of less than 1mm. This is one to two orders of magnitude lower loss than established waveguide processes. The combination of low loss along with small bend radius enables fabrication of a new class of high performing devices, including delay lines and high-Q factor on-chip resonators.

The process has been developed by Anello and Tower over the last 18 months and the foundry version will be offered to Tower customers from 1Q22.

Anello is currently engaged in trials with market-leading customers in the automotive, aerospace and security markets.

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