Photonic chip organisation PhotonDelta secures €1.1 billion investment

In a bid to position The Netherlands as the global innovator in photonic chip technologies, PhotonDelta has secured a conditional €1.1 billion investment to fuel a six-year initiative.
Photonic chip organisation PhotonDelta secures €1.1 billion investment

Eindhoven, Netherlands-based PhotonDelta has conditionally* received a €1.1 billion investment that is aimed at building some 200 startups, scaling up production, further infrastructure development, and creating new ways and methods in which to use photonic chip technologies.

The investment arrives in part directly from the Dutch government via the National Growth Fund (Nationaal Groeifonds), contributing €470 million, with the remaining co-investments provided by various undisclosed partners and stakeholders.

The funding for PhotonDelta is part of The Netherland’s larger plan to position itself as the go-to when it comes to integrated photonics, an initiative that kicked off in December of 2018.

Photonics is a process similar to electronics, but instead of utilising electrons, it uses photons to transfer information. You’re already familiar with photonic technology, just perhaps not by that moniker. Examples include lasers, various sensors, and fibre-optic networks. 

Where things begin to become really interesting is when photonic integrated circuits (PICs), or photonic chips, are used to combine two or more photonic functions into a single chip, resulting in faster and more energy-efficient devices. 

If you’re anything like me, the minute you hear more energy efficient, faster, and chip in the same sentence, there’s one thing that comes to mind: quantum computing. And low and behold, ​​Quix Quantum and its associated photonic quantum computer is one of the companies under the PhotonDelta umbrella.

The group also points to future usage of photonics in the diagnostics of diseases, safer autonomous vehicles and infrastructures, and more efficient food production.

The €1.1 billion in funding will power a six-year programme in which PhotonDelta and its partners with invest in photonic technology-related startups and scaleups as well as further expand production and research facilities within The Netherlands, and attract and train top talent to the country.

“This investment is a game-changer. It will make the Netherlands the home of the next generation of semiconductors which will have a profound impact on the whole European tech industry,” commented PhotonDelta CEO Ewit Roos. “The ongoing chip shortage highlights the pressing need for Europe to create its own production capabilities for strategic technologies. We will now be able to support hundreds of startups, researchers, producers, and innovators to boost this industry that will be as impactful as the introduction of microelectronics a few decades ago.

As a reminder, last month chip giant Intel announced its plans to invest up to €80 billion in the European semiconductor market, specifically targeting operations in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Spain.

*Conditions include:

  • Strategic partnership with a foundry agreed
  • Research activity connected with applications of technology
  • Ongoing evaluation of PhotonDelta’s ecosystem 
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