Avicena buys microLED fab from Nanosys

Oct. 20, 2022
The buy will boost the development of Avicena’s LightBundle approach to chip-to-chip interconnect, the company says.

Avicena, which is developing optical chip-to-chip connectivity technology based on microLEDs, says it has acquired a microLED fabrication facility and related engineering team from Nanosys. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The startup had been using the fab for development of its ultra-fast microLEDs prior to the acquisition.

The buy will boost the development of Avicena’s LightBundle approach to chip-to-chip interconnect, the company says. The Mountain View, CA, based startup seeks to pair hundreds of GaN microLEDs transmitting in parallel with multicore fiber to pass multiple terabits of traffic between chips at reaches of up to 10 m (see “Avicena touts LED-based LightBundle optical interconnects for chip-to-chip communication”). Such microLED-based optics integrate well with silicon ICs and offer lower power and cost versus conventional alternatives, says the company. The LightBundle approach matches well with such parallel chiplet interfaces as UCIe, OpenHBI, and BoW, Avicena states. LightBundle also can extend the reach of such compute interconnects as PCIe/CXL and HBM/DDR/GDDR memory links, as well as inter-processor interconnects such as NVLink, the company adds.

“We have already demonstrated LightBundle links running at less than 1pJ/bit and individual microLED links running at 14 Gbps NRZ,” asserted Bardia Pezeshki, founder and CEO of Avicena, “With the acquisition of the Nanosys microLED development facilities we will be in an excellent position to further advance epitaxy, device process, and transfer technology and achieve even lower energy and higher data rates per lane. Compact, low-cost interconnects using hundreds of these links can support a total bandwidth of many terabits per second and help solve the data bottleneck in advanced silicon ICs.”

Capabililities of the fab include epitaxy, wafer processing, and lift-off and transfer tools to post-process silicon ICs with optical interfaces. The facility previously was the property of glō, which invested more than $200 million in the development and manufacture of microLED displays. Nanosys acquired glō in May 2021.

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