Graphene photonics startup raises funds for 5G/6G

Business news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

CamGraPhIC has raised £1.26 million through an equity funding round from existing and new investors to develop and scale up its graphene-based photonics technology for use in high-speed data and telecommunications networks.

Frontier IP, a specialist in commercialising intellectual property, and the investment platform Wealth Club coordinated the 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 the year. He is currently advising the CamGraPhIC on an informal basis.

CamGraPhIC is developing graphene-based photonics technology for scalable, faster and cheaper optical transceivers, devices at the heart of high-speed data and telecommunications networks. The CamGraPhIC graphene integrate photonics (GIP) platform provides breakthrough performance, including high bandwidth density, low-cost, low power consumption, high traffic capacity, temperature resilience.

The platform includes electro absorption modulators (EAMs), photodetectors (PDs), and phase modulators. Integrability and flexibility are two key aspects of the photonics platform. The main characteristics of the CamGraPhIC electro-optical cores are: 100+ Gb/s NRZ per optical channel (EAM and PD); single-chip multi-channel flexible configurations; integrated and dedicated driving electronics; and uncooled operation (>100°C).

The GIP platform satisfies the industry needs of ultra-fast short-reach optical links at lower cost. Applications include 5G and 6G intra-antenna optical connectivity; next-generation electro-optical engines for intra-datacenter transceiver (pluggables, on-board optics, and co-package optics architectures); CPU optical connectivity for AI applications; sub-THz antenna elements for 6G; and quantum photonics.

The transceivers high energy efficiency, making them not only cheaper to buy, but also to run. Other uses will include 6G mm-wave, which has the potential to transmit data at speeds up to 1 terabyte per second, high performance computing and networks able to meet the demands of processor-intensive artificial intelligence applications.

Current versions of the technology have indicated speeds of up to 100 Gbps per lane and operation across multiple wavebands. Their speed is about twice that achieved in laboratory conditions by equivalent technologies, while it is projected that they consume 70 per cent less energy.

Proceeds from the funding round will be used to complete fabrication and testing of the demonstration devices. The technology has attracted interest from major multinationals in the semiconductor and telecommunications sectors. Customer testing is expected to begin in September.

CamGraPhIC’s underlying graphene-photonics technology has a host of further applications and is being developed under licence from the University of Cambridge.


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