SMART Photonics, a Dutch company specializing in photonic chips, has enhanced its production capabilities by shifting its manufacturing process to four-inch wafer substrates, resulting in a doubling of production rates and a decrease in the price per chip. This development, as highlighted in the company's press release, signifies a significant leap forward in the commercial readiness of SMART Photonics' photonic chips.

This advancement is particularly noteworthy due to the projected double-digit growth in global demand for photonics integrated circuits, driven by the increasing influence of 5G and 6G applications, as well as preparatory data center upgrades for AI technologies. The reduction in costs associated with the production of these photonic chips is expected to accelerate the deployment of these transformative technologies.

The transition to 4-inch wafers allows for nearly twice as many chips to be accommodated compared to 3-inch wafers, signifying a substantial capacity increase. Guy Backner, Chief Operating Officer of SMART Photonics, emphasized the company's dedication to procuring, installing, testing, and qualifying the new 4-inch processing equipment. He emphasized that this advancement is not solely about increased production capacity, but also positions the company to meet the market demand for optical chips at a competitive price point, aligning with their goal to become a leading player in integrated photonics.

SMART Photonics' recent achievement of securing €100M in funding, with significant contributions from industry leaders such as ASML and NXP, including €60M in public financing as part of the PhotonDelta-approved National Growth Fund project, signifies a strong foundation for continued growth and development. This funding will enable SMART Photonics to accelerate its development, enhance its Process Design Kit capabilities, and expand its manufacturing capabilities, fostering the company's progress and market presence.

It's worth noting that the transition from 3 to 4-inch wafers was made possible through the support of the European Union's Interreg North-West Europe project, "OIP4NWE" (NWE 758), demonstrating the collaborative and supportive environment for technological advancements in the industry.