Startup Rockley Photonics targets data center networks

Rockley Photonics, the latest venture of Bookham Technology (now Oclaro) founder Andrew Rickman, says it is prototyping technology that will bring greater efficiency to data center networks via optical switching.

Rockley Photonics, the latest venture of Bookham Technology (now Oclaro) founder Andrew Rickman, says it is prototyping technology that will bring greater efficiency to data center networks via optical switching.

The prototype architecture leverages FPGAs and "custom photonic devices" to promote scalable optical packet switching. Those custom devices likely use silicon photonics concepts (see "Bookham founder resurfaces at Rockley Photonics").

"We have now demonstrated the ability to combine photonics and electronics in a unique architecture, which will enable us to simplify switch design, create vastly more scalable networks using much larger switches, and drive down the cost per bit while substantially reducing power consumption," claimed Rickman, who holds the CEO title at Rockley Photonics, via a press release.

Assuming the system architecture proves out, the company says it will move the design from the prototyping platform to system chips for production. Rockley Photonics hopes to offer commercial products sometime in 2017.

Rickman founded the new company in August 2013. It has offices in Oxford, UK, and Pasadena, CA (see "Startup Rockley Photonics adds to Pasadena team"). It will follow a fabless model for its silicon photonics efforts.

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