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A young Ottawa firm is introducing a breakthrough technology that will mean faster data transmission and more robust video, Internet and voice services.
OneChip Photonics — a young Ottawa firm — is poised to commercialize a breakthrough technology, thanks in large part to the services provided by the NRC Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (NRC-CPFC). As a key partner in the Ottawa photonics cluster, the Centre provides specialized prototyping and design testing services to help young firms introduce innovations in optical telecommunications and other fields of photonics technology.
It's all about increasing bandwidth
OneChip Photonics is banking on the fact that the whole world wants more bandwidth. More bandwidth means faster data transmission and more robust video, Internet and voice services — not to mention bandwidth-hungry future applications, delivered by optical fibre.
Today's providers of optical transceivers have been facing barriers that make it difficult to reduce cost and improve performance. They use designs that require the assembly of multiple parts — a costly approach that has inherent weaknesses. OneChip is now offering an integrated next-generation solution.
The firm has developed a unique proprietary design platform to manufacture optical components capable of feeding the optical fibre penetrating right to the end user. The company integrates all the photonic devices required for an optical transceiver onto a single, indium phosphide (InP)-based chip, using a high-yield photonic integrated circuit (PIC) manufacturing process. This advance will allow for the cost-efficient manufacture of optical components that will enable faster and more robust data transmission — at lower cost.
The OneChip technology provides the only fully integrated ?fibre to the home? optical transceiver solution on the market. Since OneChip's transceiver PICs can be manufactured using industry-standard fabrication techniques and packaged by fully automated assembly processes, this technology promises to propel the broadband revolution into the ?integrated circuit era? even for very cost-sensitive applications.
From concept to commercialization
OneChip Photonics was founded in late 2005 by Dr. Valery Tolstikhin, then its sole employee. Formerly with MetroPhotonics Inc., Nortel Networks, Optiwave Corp. and NRC, Dr. Tolstikhin had already devoted some 30 years to the research, development and commercialization of advanced semiconductor devices for micro- and optoelectronics.
The road to commercialization began in 2007 when OneChip started developing its PIC technology. The firm turned to NRC-CPFC in Ottawa for help with one of its most risky projects. The Centre prototyped and tested the firm's proprietary optical component solution, providing the concept verification the firm needed to approach investors. Following the successful concept demonstration, the company received US$7 million of venture capital and really started taking off.
Since then, OneChip has engaged NRC-CPFC in three more service agreements to verify design, helping the young firm refine its PIC technology. Using the Centre to prototype some of the key building blocks, OneChip has now raised a total of US$26.9 million in venture capital and employs more than 40 highly skilled workers.
?The Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre has served as a key and reliable partner in our initial proof-of-concept and prototyping phase. The Centre has played an important role in helping us successfully validate our technology and prove its value to investors.?
Dr. Valery Tolstikhin, founder & CTO, OneChip Photonics Inc.
The NRC advantage
NRC-CPFC is the only commercial grade fabrication facility for photonic components in Canada. Established to create a strategic advantage for the Canadian photonics industry, the Centre boasts an exceptional level of photonics expertise drawn from the NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences.
Innovative start-up firms developing a new photonics-based technology have everything to gain from partnering with NRC-CPFC. By having their novel design concepts prototyped and validated by the Centre, start-up firms can venture into the market without their own fabrication facility. These firms can demonstrate their technology to investors and acquire the venture capital they need to get through the early stages of commercialization.