The Photonics Research Lab (PRL) group at ITEAM and the company iPronics have designed a revolutionary chip for the telecommunications sector

A team from the Photonics Research Lab (PRL) at the ITEAM in the Universitat Politècnica de València, together with the company iPronics, has designed and manufactured a revolutionary chip for the telecommunications sector, data centers, and infrastructure associated with artificial intelligence computing systems.

It is the world’s first universal, programmable, and multifunctional photonic chip, and it is particularly useful for communications, data centers, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, satellites, drones, or autonomous driving, among many other applications.

The development of this revolutionary chip is the main result of the European project UMWP-Chip, led by researcher José Capmany and funded with an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. The work has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

The chip conceived and manufactured by the UPV and iPronics team allows on-demand programming and interconnection of wireless and photonic segments of communication networks, avoiding the generation of bottlenecks that can limit both capacity and available bandwidth.

“It is the first chip in the world with these characteristics. It can implement the twelve basic functionalities needed in these systems and be programmed on demand, resulting in greater circuit efficiency,” highlights Capmany.

The UPV professor, an international reference in photonics, explains that applications such as 5G or autonomous driving require higher frequencies, so it is necessary to reduce the size of antennas and associated circuits. In this case, what has been achieved by the PRL-iTEAM of the UPV and iPronics is that the converter behind the antenna, which is an interface chip, is as small and compact as possible, and is ready to support current and future predicted frequency bands.

This chip is already integrated into an iPronics product, the Smartlight, and is already being used by Vodafone in testing phase.

“For us, the development of this chip represents a very important step because it has allowed the validation of our developments applied to a growing problem, the efficient management of data flows in data centers and networks of artificial intelligence computing systems. Our next goal is to scale the chip to meet the needs of this market segment,” highlights Daniel Pérez-López, co-founder and CTO of iPronics.