Wave Photonics, a Cambridge-based DeepTech startup, has received £4.5 million to develop on-chip photonics designs for quantum technologies, sensors and datacentre applications. 

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and Cambridge Enterprise Ventures led the round, with participation from the Redstone and QAI Ventures’ Quantum Fund, Kyra Ventures and DeepTech Labs. 

The investment round was complemented by non-dilutive funding via EIC and Innovate UK grants, taking the company’s total funding to date to £5.4m. 

Integrated photonics uses the same scalable process used to make semiconductor electronics chips to make circuits for light. It’s being used as the platform for energy-efficient communications, wearable healthcare sensors, rapid diagnostic tools, optical sensor processors, on-chip lidar, quantum computing and communication, and a host of other transformative technologies. 

However, in contrast with the mature semiconductor chip process, taking a photonic-integrated circuit (PIC) from a concept to mass production is long and prohibitively expensive. 

Wave Photonics was founded in May 2021 by James Lee and Machew Anderson, two Cambridge Quantum Photonics PhDs, and Mateusz Kubica (CTO), a former quantitative finance VP with 10 years’ experience in mathematical and computational modelling. 

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It has built and validated its core computational photonics design technology to reduce photonic product development time and aims to use it to unlock the transformative potential of integrated photonics.

This investment will enable the company to take its technology from a research manufacturing line to a commercial foundry, with a particular focus on solutions for frontier applications such as quantum technologies and biosensing. 

“The team has spent the past few years building and experimentally validating our design technology – it’s exciting to have the resources to begin deploying it to solve real industry problems,” said Lee, CEO.

Dr Christine Martin, head of ventures at Cambridge Enterprise, said: “Integrated photonics is poised to disrupt high-value industries ranging from quantum computing to bio-sensing, and Wave Photonics’ team and technologies are in a great position to enable and accelerate the adoption of next generation integrated photonics products.”

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