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Rockley Photonics extends strategic partnership with Hengtong Optic-Electric Co. Ltd expanding jo


04 March 2019

Karen Boud
Senior Tech PR
Specialist PR and marketing agency
t. 01635 898698

Rockley Photonics extends strategic partnership with Hengtong Optic-Electric Co. Ltd expanding joint venture and welcoming $30m investment

Oxford, UK 4 March 2019 Rockley Photonics, a leader in complete integrated silicon photonics chipsets for digital connectivity and sensing systems, today announced that it has expanded its strategic relationship with Shanghai stock-exchange listed Hengtong Optic-Electric Co. Ltd (Hengtong). The Suzhou-based joint venture with Hengtong addresses the burgeoning 400G DR4 transceiver market. As part of the same deal, Hengtong will invest $30m in Rockley’s Series E funding round.

Rockley-Hengtong is expanding its 2017 joint venture[1], increasing its portfolio to develop, manufacture and sell 400G DR4 Transceivers utilizing Rockley’s LightDriver™ Optical Engines. Mahesh Karanth, chief finance officer at Rockley stated: “We are very pleased to announce this commercial expansion and welcome Hengtong’s participation in our Series E funding round. This new funding provides us with significant capital to move to the next stage of our business plan. We will accelerate volume manufacturing of Rockley’s LightDriver™ Optical Engine and develop next-generation sensors and communications products. Our technology will help to meet the new connectivity requirements for datacenters, supporting cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.”

Emerging applications like AI, machine learning, AR/VR, and 5G wireless are driving network traffic to unprecedented levels. As bandwidth requirements increase, datacenters are looking to deploy higher switching capacity. The unique architecture of Rockley’s LightDriver™ facilitates the transition to in-package optics for 51T switches and drives a broad spectrum of connectivity products including 400G and 800G pluggables, which are required for the large-scale deployment of 12.8T and 25.6T switches. This will enable datacenters to adopt fiber-to-the-server and eliminate the need for costly, high-power electrical signaling.

“The LightDriver™ is the world’s first 400G engine supporting 1310nm on a fully integrated, optimized waveguide platform,” said Andrew Rickman, chairman and chief executive at Rockley Photonics. “Its tight integration with electronics enabled by advanced 2.5D packaging is key to facilitating the high bandwidth and dense optical I/O required by increasing network traffic. The LightDriver™ technology in our chipsets is important for datacenters wishing to improve performance while reducing power and costs.”

Rickman added: “We are truly delighted with our expanded partnership with Hengtong.  Combining Rockley’s LightDriver™ Optical Engine and our fully integrated silicon photonics platform[2] with Hengtong’s world-leading manufacturing capability will deliver the lowest power and most cost-effective transceiver in the market. It is a significant step towards furthering our mission to make photonics as pervasive as microelectronics.”

Rockley Photonics will be at OFC 2019, booth #5429.  

About Rockley Photonics

Rockley Photonics was formed in 2013 by an experienced management team, previously successful with two silicon photonics companies.  Rockley Photonics has developed a highly versatile, third-generation silicon photonics platform specifically designed for the optical I/O challenges facing next generation sensor systems and communications networks. 

Rockley’s photonic technology platform was developed with a total focus on high volume manufacture of highly integrated optical/electronic devices for high performance applications.  The technology platform, exploiting optimized waveguide dimensions, offers significant benefits over conventional solutions.  These benefits include the production of higher density optical circuits, the ability to create more complex integration, better manufacturing tolerances, superior power handling, lower loss and higher efficiency photonic IC interfaces.   In summary, Rockley Photonics’ technology can be adapted to be application specific, whilst simplifying manufacturing, assembly, test and validation, and optimizing power, size and cost of complex optical systems.

Rockley’s founder, Andrew Rickman, is recognized across the industry for his technical and commercial success in silicon photonics. Andrew founded the first company to commercialize silicon photonics, Bookham Technology. Bookham had a successful IPO in 2000 and is currently called Oclaro. He later became the chairman of Kotura which was successfully sold to Mellanox in 2013.

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