Champagne was flowing at lunchtime to mark the start of a new phase in Indium Phosphide chip manufacture in Europe. Smart Photonics, a pure-play foundry, which began in 2012 as a spinoff from TU/e, revealed a road map for the coming years. Sigrid Johannisse, Director of StartupDelta and Alderman Stef Depla of the City of Eindhoven assisted in the inauguration of the new cleanroom production facility. They etched a message of support into the first wafer to be made in the new facility.

P1100795Richard Visser, CEO, Smart Photonics, took the opportunity of the visit to reveal the next stage of his company’s plans. “Today, we opened the pilot-line production facility which allows us to offer a new range of services to photonics chip designers and high-tech companies around the world. We have already built a trusted relationship with more than 40 major companies in Europe, USA and Asia. They understand that indium phosphide chips are the best choice in applications ranging from new generation low-power consumption data-centres to “needleless pills”  for medical diagnostics that can help diabetics. Photonics also plays an important role in the aircraft industry and highly-secure cryptography. In short, the market is scaling exponentially.”

“In short, the market is scaling exponentially”

P1100758The opening of the facility on the High Tech Campus means photonics design companies can scale-up production much faster and at much lower cost. The official opening of the facility involved a short visit to the brand new cleanroom but also contained a surprise ending.

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Sigrid Johannisse has worked alongside Neelie Kroes in the development of European Commission policy to give this continent a 5 year lead on the US and Asia. So it was fitting that she was asked to start a countdown clock set to September 24th 2018.

Just before pushing the countdown button, Sigrid had this to say:

“We’ve listened today to the story of Eindhoven as a City of Inventions, especially in making light. But also the great work in building photonics startups that are light year’s ahead. We hope your goals will also be achieved at the speed of light. On behalf of Startupdelta, we wish you every success. We’re especially proud of what’s been achieved so far and we’ll work together to build an even brighter future”.


P1100797In three years Smart Photonics looks forward to inviting today’s guests back to inspect their new full-scale Indium Phosphide chip factory. Designs for the new facility will be finalized based on the practical experiences gained in the pilot facility opened today. This will ensure that photonics manufacturing will continue to prosper in Eindhoven.



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About the author

Author profile picture Jonathan Marks is Director of Outreach at PhotonDelta. Originally from the UK, he has worked for several international broadcasters including Discovery Channel, BBC, European Broadcasting Union and the former Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. Today he is an active independent writer and video producer doing journalistic due diligence on next-generation photonics and the application sectors that it will empower. He leads an active guild of digital craftsmen and women helping international entrepreneurs scale their business across borders. "Because investors are no longer interested in pitches. They're searching for teams with a clear, open narrative. I'm happy to explain the difference."