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Pilot Photonics secures €2.5 million from European Innovation Council

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The company will use the funding to further develop key enabling technologies for scaling co-packaged optics

Pilot Photonics has announced that it has secured €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC) to develop, integrate and commercialise key technology blocks relevant to a coherent co-packaged optics (CPO) solution to overcome future scaling challenges in the datacentre.

The explosion in data processing due to the adoption of AI/ML is putting further pressure on datacentre networks and in large computing arenas. New architectures are emerging to tackle this problem, but scaling challenges are already appearing and new innovations will be needed to overcome them.

With the new funding, provided through the EIC’s Transition programme, Pilot Photonics intends to mature a number of its patented technologies including comb lasers, ring resonator IQ modulators and comb-enhanced DSP algorithms. The company says these innovations are relevant to both pluggable and CPO architectures today and can help unlock coherent communication inside the datacentre, as well as enable datacentre switches at 204.8T, and longer-reach CPO systems at 10 km (LR) distances or more.

“The low-hanging fruit for scaling CPO, namely power splits and coarse wavelength multiplexing is already taken,” said Frank Smyth, founder, and CTO at Pilot Photonics. “This project recognises that continued densification of the interconnects is required for future cloud and AI/ML network scaling. It develops key enabling technologies such as comb laser technology to densify the wavelength grid and ring resonator IQ modulators to increase the information spectral density. We're excited to get it underway.”

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