RANOVUS hopes to ride quantum dot lasers to data center success

Ottawa-based startup RANOVUS Inc., which plans to leverage “Quantum Dot Multi-Wavelength Laser technology” to create low-cost optical transceivers for data center applications, has emerged from stealth mode with the announcement of $11 million in new funding. Azure Capital Partners, T-Venture, BDC Venture Capital, and OMERS Ventures ponied up the funds, joining initial investor MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

Ottawa-based startup RANOVUS Inc., which plans to leverage “Quantum Dot Multi-Wavelength Laser technology” to create low-cost optical transceivers for data center applications, has emerged from stealth mode with the announcement of $11 million in new funding. Azure Capital Partners, T-Venture, BDC Venture Capital, and OMERS Ventures ponied up the money, joining initial investor MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

The RANOVUS team comprises several veterans of CoreOptics, the coherent transmission technology company Cisco purchased in 2010 (see “Cisco to acquire CoreOptics”). Hamid Arabzadeh, chairman, president, and CEO at CoreOptics, holds the same titles at the new venture. Other ex-CoreOptics bigwigs include Saeid Aramideh in the role of co-founder and chief marketing and sales officer and Jeff Hutchins as director of business development. Other company leaders include Vice President, Optical Technology Douglas Beckett and Vice President Operations & Advanced Packaging Chris Hart, both ex-Nortel. Hart also was with OneChip Photonics.

Aramideh told Lightwave the company will pair the quantum dot laser with silicon photonics and photonic integrated circuit expertise to create multi-wavelength transceivers and optical engines operating at 1550 nm. The quantum dot technology is perfect for this task, Aramideh explained, because of the laser’s ability to emit multiple wavelengths from a single device, versus the single-wavelength Fabry Perot and distributed feedback (DFB) lasers now commonly used. The company has demonstrated 40-channel transmission so far, with a goal of 96 channels or more. With that number of channels, the transceivers should be able to support terabit transmission, the RANOVUS team expects.

The company is not discussing its product roadmap yet, Aramideh said. However, a product targeting low-cost 400 Gigabit Ethernet would seem reasonable; Aramideh said that he believes that data center customers would embrace such an offering before the IEEE finishes work on such specifications if “a viable option” were available. He also said that the company is interested in both intra- and inter-data center applications, with 2 km being a “sweet spot.”

RANOVUS likely will have to leverage more than just quantum dot lasers to achieve its goals, Aramideh acknowledged. While he was leery of offering details, he did mention that concepts such as ring resonators and optical DMT have shown promise in the past and would provide significant benefits if certain limitations could be overcome. The company likely will have to pair amplification technology, such as semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs), to meet longer-reach objectives as well.

In addition to its Ottawa headquarters, RANOVUS has a marketing applications engineering facility in San Jose. The company has more than 25 employees currently, Aramideh said.

For more information on optical transceivers and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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