Telecom Leader Vodafone Partners with Silicon Photonics Companies

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In a push to develop and deploy silicon photonics technology, telecommunications leader Vodafone detailed plans to expand its workforce and announced partnerships with European photonic chip developers iPronics and Salience Labs. Vodafone seeks to integrate photonic chips into its mobile base stations to enable an ultralow-latency, highly programmable, and more efficient network. The company identified the photonics firms as among the first startups to collaborate at the company’s expanded campus in Málaga, Spain.

According to Vodafone, photonic chip integration would support advancements in computation seen in generative AI, cybersecurity, and autonomous vehicles technologies, among others. iPronics, a spinout of Universitat Politècnica de València, began shipping its first programmable PICs earlier this year. The company’s full programmable PICs function similarly to field programmable gate arrays. In March, the company named a “multinational telecommunications and electronics company” among its first customers.

Salience Labs, a 2021 spinout of the University of Oxford and the University of Münster, is commercializing ultrahigh-speed multichip processors that place photonic processing mapping directly on top of static random access memory. The chips are designed for volume manufacturing using standard CMOS processes.

Vodafone shared information about the partnerships at the same time it announced it had expanded its Málaga campus. Vodafone said that the location, which is currently the base of more than 430 engineers, will add another 170 engineers by 2025.  

Published: September 2023
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
Optoelectronics is a branch of electronics that focuses on the study and application of devices and systems that use light and its interactions with different materials. The term "optoelectronics" is a combination of "optics" and "electronics," reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of this field. Optoelectronic devices convert electrical signals into optical signals or vice versa, making them crucial in various technologies. Some key components and applications of optoelectronics include: ...
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