DustPhotonics has developed a Silicon Photonics chip

DustPhotonics rom Modiin, Israel, and MaxLinear from California, announced a joint silicon  photonics transceiver, which contains optical chipset from DustPhotonics and a DSP processor from  MaxLinear. This solution provides the capability of executing optical communication to data centers in 400Gb/s and 800Gb/rates while reducing costs, space, and power consumption. 

The company decided to lay aside its activity in optical transceivers between servers, to focus in  developing silicon photonics chips. CEO Ronen Levinger said to Techtime that the joint announcement with MaxLinear is a result of this makeover. The transceiver, which will be presented in the ECOC 2022 Switzerland exhibition, is based on the company’s Carmel chip, which converts electrical signals to optical signals and includes a cost-effective laser transmitter coupled to it using DustPhotonics’ Low Loss Laser Coupling (L3C technology) 

This technology makes it possible to manufacture optical communication chips, which provide  significant improvement in the system’s power consumption, and allows for a single laser source usage  o operate four communication channels. Since the bandwidth of each channel is 100 Gb/s, the solution provides an enormous bandwidth of 400 Gb/s. Levinger: “The Carmel chip is manufactured by the Tower  Semiconductor Company and comes with an effectively integrated laser using our unique technology, which is in the heart of the chip itself, as well as in the process of assembling the component. We use very cheap and simple lasers since the modulation is done on the chip itself”. 

What is the basis for the collaboration with MaxLinear? 

“Alongside the silicon photonic based optical chip, the optical transceiver within data centers also includes a DSP processor and a driver that drives the modulator. MaxLinear developed the Keystone  processor which comes with an internal driver for the optical components, which made it possible for us to develop a solution with high level of integration. We are currently negotiating with additional prospective clients, and together with the presentation of the solution next month, we intend to bring our customers reference plans and our evaluation cards”. 

DustPhotonics was founded in 2017 with initial investment of Chairman Avigdor Willenz, and it currently  employs fifty employees in its headquarters in Modiin. The founder are all optical communication experts, to include Ben Rubovitch from Mellanox and Amphenol TCS, Dr. Kobi Hasharoni and Amir Geron from Compass Networks, and Yoel Chetrit from Intel.  

CEO Levinger, joined at the end of 2020 is also coming with broad experience in the field: He was SVP Operations at Mellanox Technologies and a COO at Innoviz technologies, where he successfully  established the operations, engineering, and quality infrastructures of the LiDAR sensors. Since its  foundation, the company has raised around $60 million from Avigdor Willenz and funds such as Walden, Intel Capital, and GreenField Partners. Following this move, Walden’s Lip-Bu Tan joined the board of  DustPhotonics. Last week he was also appointed as a board member for Intel. 

DustPhotonics new focus: InP Laser for Silicon Photonics

Above: Ronnen Lovinger, CEO of DustPhotonics.

Israel-based DustPhotonics exits its current optical transceiver’s business and is moving to the promising new field of active technologies for silicon photonics. The company announced a new investment, totalling $33 million, led by Greenfield Partners and joined by Intel Capital, Avigdor Willenz (co-founder of Habana Labs), and others. The company also announced it has completed an organizational realignment to support its new business direction: Phasing out its current Transceivers product line to focus its resources on silicon photonics solutions.

As part of this move, Ronnen Lovinger, president of DustPhotonics, has assumed the role of CEO. Ben Rubovitch, the company’s previous CEO, has stepped down and will lead the Business side of the company. “This latest investment and the organizational changes will enable us to take advantage of new business opportunities,” said Ronnen Lovinger. “We are thrilled at the continued confidence of our investors in our strategic direction.”

DustPhotonics high-speed pluggable transceiver
DustPhotonics high-speed pluggable transceiver

DustPhotonics was founded in 2017 with offices in Modi’in, Israel and Cupertino, California. Currently, it provides high-speed optical pluggable transceiver for datacenters, based on its proprietary AuraDP technology. It seems that it takes its optical alignment technology which is at the heart of AuraDP – into a more lucrative market – InP (Indium Phosphide) Laser to Silicon Photonics integration. “This technology will provide significant value differentiation enabling superior performance to support 800 Gb/s, 1.6Tb/s, CPO (Co-packaged Optics) and future products.”