Caliopa - Shaping the future of optical transceivers

IWT supports innovation project Caliopa

11 November 2010

The goal of the innovation project is to develop Silicon Photonics based optical transceivers for data and telecommunication applications

Zwijnaarde (Belgium) – November 11, 2010 – The “agentschap voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Techniek (IWT)” has decided to support Caliopa’s innovation project “Silicon Photonics for Optical transceivers” (SPOT) for the amount of 1.4 million Euro. In cooperation with imec, Caliopa will develop a Silicon Photonics platform for advanced optical transceivers for data and telecommunications applications.

The strong potential for miniaturization and the low production cost allow Silicon Photonics to find its way into numerous applications such as biomedical and industrial sensors and test equipment, data and telecommunications (fiber optic networks) as well as consumer applications such as computer and video cables.

According to the latest Market Forecast from LightCounting LLC, the premier market research firm for optical communications, the global sales of optical transceivers will reach $2.4 billion in 2010, with the market posting a 13% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2011 and 2014, as the industry catches up with the steadily growing demand for bandwidth.

With the development of a Silicon Photonics platform Caliopa will have all the building blocks necessary to make a whole range of optical transceivers in a modular way. These transceivers will be more advanced and more compact than those currently available on the market, and will only consume half of the power. With this Caliopa is addressing a strong demand from the market for smaller and more power efficient optical network equipment, as power and floor space are major contributors to the operational cost of fiber-optic networks.

The optical transceivers that Caliopa will bring to market will be built on a single optical chip derived from the Silicon Photonics platform. These chips will be developed by Caliopa and fabricated at imec, and part of the SPOT project will aim at the development of Silicon Photonics fabrication processes in cooperation with imec.

“The advantages of using Silicon Photonics in data and telecommunications are tremendous, but the application requires important investments” says Martin De Prycker, CEO of Caliopa. “With the support of the IWT Caliopa will become a leader in Silicon Photonics and applying the technology to data and telecommunications applications.

Caliopa currently employs 8 people, with researchers from imec and UGent and specialists from the industry with a broad technical and managerial experience. To develop its Silicon Photonics platform, Caliopa will significantly grow it’s team of researchers in the next 12 months.



About Silicon Photonics
Silicon photonics offers the possibility of large cost savings (in materials, components, and energy consumption) and a significant increase in capabilities. The ability to use standard microelectronic CMOS manufacturing facilities and processes makes silicon photonics commercially very attractive. 
The sub-micron precision of these standard microelectronic CMOS processes allow for silicon photonics components to integrate a variety of optical functions in a very small chip that consumes far less power than traditional optical components. The decades of experience making (electronic) chips from silicon as well as the installed base of (silicon) semiconductor manufacturing capacity can be leveraged to build highly integrated low-cost optical components for a variety of applications. The performance, enabled by the high accuracy of the semiconductor manufacturing tools, is an important benefit but of even more interest is the potential to lower costs and increase volume production, much as it is in the regular semiconductor industry.
Silicon photonics technology has become mature enough to potentially disrupt the component supply-side of opto-electronic and telecom/datacom markets.


About Caliopa
Caliopa aspires to be a market leader in advanced optical transceivers for the data and telecommunication markets. The company was incorporated in 2010 as a spin-off of the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University and imec to commercialize a decade of research in Silicon Photonics. Benefitting from the advantages of Silicon Photonics, Caliopa will develop and market optical transceivers that offer advanced functionality, higher port density and lower power consumption. Caliopa is privately held by a consortium of investors including Baekeland, FIDIMEC, Vinnof and private investors.

Karsten Verhaegen, COO Caliopa, tel: +32 9 2415 606
e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


About IWT
The “agentschap voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie”, or IWT is a governmental institution created in 1991 by the Flemisch region to support innovative projects in Flanders. In 2009 the IWT granted 285 million Euro in innovation subsidies to companies, organizations, education and research institutions in Flanders. For small and medium enterprises there is tailor-made program (“kmo-programma”). In addition to offering financial support, amongst other things, the IWT helps companies to find the right domestic and international partners in their preparation for European projects. The IWT also has an important coordination role in creating close cooperation and interaction between all companies active in technological innovation in Flanders. “IWT – Monitoring & Analyse” (M&A) monitors innovation and publishes studies on a regular base. For more information see or Phone +32 2 432 42 00.

Monique Baeteman, PR & Communicatieverantwoordelijke
(Tel: +32 2 432 42 62 – Gsm: +32 497 550 900 - E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))