Cees Links has agreed to become CEO of Superlight Photonics, an Enschede-based integrated photonics startup working on energy-efficient supercontinuum lasers. With the Wi-Fi pioneer and entrepreneur on board, the company founded only a little over half a year ago expects to “ignite exciting new chapters of innovation and growth.”
Lasers derive their unique properties from their ability to emit coherent light: they send out photons of the same wavelength and waveform. For certain applications, however, the narrow spectral output is a downside. This is where supercontinuum lasers come in, which are used, for example, in 3D imaging devices. These ‘superlasers’ employ non-lineair optical effects to broaden the output spectrum of a laser source. With currently available technology, this unfortunately requires a huge setup that needs a lot of power.
University of Twente researcher and Superlight founder Haider Zia developed an integrated photonics chips that can drastically lower the energy requirements. “With our solution, we’re able to lower the energy requirements by factors of thousands. The spectrum of light becomes flat, so there’s no dominant color and the pulses that come out are narrow in time. Our tech enables that the power efficiency is increased and everything can be done on a chip – without the table-full setup,” explains Haider.
Clearly, Cees Links sees potential in Superlights’ technology and is willing to lend his expertise taking it to the market. Links, who famously closed a deal with Apple that’s generally considered to have started the Wi-Fi era, founded fabless Greenpeak Technologies in 2004. Focusing on wireless technologies for IoT and Smart home applications, the company was acquired by Qorvo in 2016.