New Origin secures €6 million to build independent photonic chips foundry

12 April 2023

Funding from PhotonDelta will create production facility to supply Europe’s photonics industry with new silicon nitride chips.

Enschede, The Netherlands – 12th April 2023: New Origin has secured €6 million in funding from PhotonDelta – a cross-border ecosystem of photonic chip technology organisations.

The capital will be used to create the Netherland’s first independent photonic chips foundry that produces silicon nitride chips. The funding is part of the contribution that the Province of Overijssel has made available to PhotonDelta for a national photonics programme.

PhotonDelta’s investment in New Origin, which has spun out of the University of Twente’s MESA+ NanoLab, is the latest step in the organisation’s goal to create a world leading photonics industry in the Netherlands. Last year, PhotonDelta secured €1.1 billion in public and private investment to scale up production, build 200 startups, create new applications for photonic chips and develop infrastructure and talent. So far, PhotonDelta has invested in companies including Scantinel Photonics, Smart Photonics, LioniX International, Quix Quantum and EFFECT Photonics. PhotonDelta has, along with a consortium of investors, invested €335 million into photonics companies in total.

A picture of the MESA+ Nanolab, of which New Origin is a spin-off.

New Origin’s foundry will enable companies to produce their own photonic chips. This overcomes a significant hurdle for the photonics industry by substantially reducing costs, while also increasing the availability of photonic chips. Photonics uses light instead of electronics to transfer information which, when integrated into microchips, enables the creation of smaller, faster and more energy-efficient devices. They have a range of applications such as within data communications, medical equipment and aviation.

New Origin believes the insights gained from the new foundry will open the door to the large scale production facilities which will be needed to meet future demand.

Professor Guus Rijnders, Scientific Director of MESA+, said: “We already have a strong cluster in the region, united in Chiptech Twente, which we can boost considerably this way. Many companies want to experiment with or integrate photonics into their products, however, this can be very difficult due to the cost and complexity of producing chips. Our foundry will significantly lower the bar to entry, facilitating more innovation and help the European photonics industry to grow.”

Ewit Roos, CEO of PhotonDelta, said: “New Origin’s foundry is going to play an important role in building Europe’s photonic chip industry. Not only will it help to meet existing demand for chips, it will also gather invaluable insights into how we can create large scale production facilities. This is a vital step in both making Europe less dependent on other regions for chip technology and unlocking the full potential of integrated photonics.”

Eddy van Hijum, Deputy Economy, Finance and Europe Minister at the Province of Overijssel, said: “We can be proud of the strong cluster of companies and knowledge institutions in our province. Together they continue to invest in the future of European chip technology. A good example, like the earlier launch of the Chips Act, is this production facility. By continuing to develop, we as a province can mean a lot socially and economically at an international, national and regional level for now and in the future.”

About New Origin

New Origin is a 100 per cent subsidiary of the University of Twente Holding. This holding company houses the university’s private activities, which, among other things, contribute to the valorisation of scientific research.

About PhotonDelta

PhotonDelta is an ecosystem of organizations that researches, designs, develops, and manufactures solutions with photonic chip technology. PhotonDelta helps to take the industry forward by stimulating collaboration, providing funding and connecting them to markets. PhotonDelta is located in the Netherlands but connects and collaborates worldwide.