Pilot Photonics raises almost €1M for optical comb source

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Dublin City University spin-out Pilot Photonics has received an investment of almost €1 million from The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Funds in syndication with Dublin Business Innovation Centre (BIC).

Kernal Captial Funds is the largest source of equity funding for tech companies in Ireland; the investment is an endorsement of the start-up’s strategy as well as a means to expand the team and expand internationally.

Pilot Photonics has developed what it claims is the world’s smallest, lightest and lowest power optical comb source (OCS), a type of laser that emit on multiple wavelengths, or colours of light simultaneously. The device consumes one-third of the power of alternative approaches at a fraction of the cost, the company claims.

The start-up’s technology, which is based on more than a decade of research and development undertaken at DCU, Trinity College Dublin and Tyndall National Institute, could be used to dramatically increase the capacity optical communication systems. The optical comb source is also ideal as lab or test instrument, which the start-up has already brought to market.

The optical comb source has potential applications in other areas of photonics. Last year, Pilot Photonics won a €335,000 contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop laser communications systems for use in advanced satellite communications systems.

Frank Smyth, CEO, Pilot Photonics said: ‘Three years ago, we took a strategic decision to pursue the development of a completely new technology platform centred around photonic integration. Securing this investment from Kernel Capital and DBIC is a strong validation of that strategy and the new business opportunities it has opened up.’

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