The project, titled ‘Free Space Optical Links for telecom networks’ (FrOLik) has received €675k support from Eureka Eurostars to develop innovative Free Space Optical (FSO) data link technology and an associated supply chain.
The consortium comprises three R&D intensive SMEs: Integrated Compound Semiconductor Ltd (ICS – Manchester, UK), VTEC Lasers and Sensors BV (Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Aircision BV (Eindhoven, Netherlands), supported by the Compound Semiconductor Centre (Cardiff, UK).
Currently, point-to-point fibre optic links are the standard deployment option for high-capacity telecom backhaul as they provide high integrity and high bandwidth transmission. While FSO is easy and fast to deploy, has very high bandwidth potential and does not require a spectrum license, current commercial solutions suffer from outages due to adverse weather conditions. The project aims to deliver a novel FSO communication product commercialised by Aircision, using novel components for high bit rates which enable long-range transmission, up to 100 Gbps at 10km.
The consortia will leverage this technology with unique high-performance compound semiconductor detector technology (developed by ICS) and new high-speed component integration techniques (developed by VTEC).
A critical outcome will be the demonstration of a new European source of integrated semiconductor detector products specifically designed for FSO systems, enabled by a comprehensive ‘materials-to-system’ design, manufacture and test capability.
Aircision is a deep-tech start-up located on the High-Tech Campus Eindhoven that specialises in developing high-impact communications applications based on advanced Free-Space Optics utilising laser beam technology. Aircision was founded in 2019 with support from the Eindhoven Start-up Alliance and HighTechXL.
About The Compound Semiconductor Centre
The Compound Semiconductor Centre was founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a Compound Semiconductor Technology Cluster in South Wales.
About Integrated Compound Semiconductors
ICS is a spin out from the University of Manchester, specialising in the design and manufacture of compound semiconductor RF, sensing and optical devices. It supplies fabricated wafers, die and fully packaged components to a wide range of international customers in communications, defence, and the automotive industries. ICS’s expertise is in ultra-high sensitive component design and a proven fabrication platform which has delivered over 10 million electro-optical devices to the market since 2006.
VTEC’s core expertise is in Photonics and IoT systems covering all relevant skills and capabilities from design to manufacturing of devices and modules, to cloud based platforms for data analysis and visualisation. Its supplies solutions in the field of optical datacoms/telecoms and environmental monitoring for industrial applications.