Vector Photonics has received £600k for the newly awarded TITAN project, developing PCSELs (photonic crystal surface-emitting lasers) for low-power consumption, optical interconnections between servers in hyperscale data centres.
Of the total project value, £300k has come from Innovate UK’s Investor Partnership Programme. This has been match-funded by private investment from UKI2S, a specialist, deep-tech seed fund for UK-based, research spinouts.
“The rising power usage of hyperscale data centres is being driven by escalating demand from network-connected devices, such as smartphones, PCs and the IoT,” Neil Martin, CEO of Vector Photonics, said. “Hyperscale data centres currently rely on high-performance lasers for the optical interconnect between servers. These lasers require so much electrical power to operate, that it is the heat they create, and the energy used by the systems which cool them, which has become the limiting factor to any increases in optical performance.
“The TITAN project will fund the early-stage development of PCSELs, which aim to solve this major heat problem. PCSELs require only half the electrical power of the incumbent lasers, for the equivalent system performance. Less heat is produced and less energy is used for cooling. Since we anticipate the system optical performance requirements of next-generation, hyperscale data centres increasing in future, it is only low-power consumption systems using PCSELs that can facilitate this increase.”