Avicena buys microLED fabrication facility and its team from Nanosys

Bardia Pezeshki, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Avicena

Avicena, the microLED-based chip-to-chip interconnects firm, announced that it has completed the acquisition of a microLED fabrication facility and associated engineering team from Nanosys. This deal significantly enhances Avicena’s capabilities in the development and manufacturing of high-speed GaN microLEDs optimized for parallel multi-Tbps interconnects.

The GaN microLED fab was previously owned by glō, which invested over $200m in the development of best-in-class microLED displays including very significant investments in manufacturing capabilities. Nanosys acquired glō in May 2021. Avicena had been using the Nanosys fab for the development of unique ultra-fast microLEDs. The acquisition of the fab and associated engineering team increases the development and manufacturing capabilities.

What do the facilities bring to Avicena’s portfolio?

The facilities include state-of-the-art epitaxy, wafer processing, and lift-off and transfer tools to post-process silicon ICs with optical interfaces. Together with Avicena’s ASIC team, the firm plans to deliver optical chiplets with high capacity and extremely low power. Compared to laser or silicon photonics-based interconnects, microLED optical interconnects are well-suited for integration with silicon ICs, lower power, lower cost, and target reaches up to 10m.

“We have already demonstrated LightBundle™ links running at less than 1pJ/bit and individual microLED links running at 14Gbps NRZ,” says Bardia Pezeshki, founder and CEO of Avicena.

“With the acquisition of the Nanosys microLED development facilities Avicena 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,” Bardia Pezeshki further commented.

“We thank the microLED fab team for their partnership in developing and manufacturing microLEDs as part of Nanosys and wish them well in their future with Avicena. Avicena is an exciting company developing cutting-edge microLED solutions, and we are pleased to have an equity stake and the opportunity to continue to collaborate with them during their next phase of growth,” said Jason Hartlove, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nanosys.

What is the product offering LightBundle™ Tech?

LightBundle™ is based on arrays of innovative ultra-fast GaN microLEDs that leverage the microLED display ecosystem and can be integrated directly onto high performance CMOS ICs. Each ultra-low power microLED array is connected via a multi-core fiber cable using hundreds of parallel optical lanes to a matching array of CMOS-compatible PDs. This design enables ultra-low power, low-cost multi-Tbps ultimately interconnects with up to 10 meter reach.

Interconnects have become the key bottleneck in networking systems. Variable workloads are driving the evolution of densely interconnected, heterogeneous, software-defined clusters of XPUs, Smart NICs, hardware accelerators, and high-performance shared memory. Ever growing AI/ML and High-Performance Computing workloads drive the need for interconnects with ultra-high bandwidth density, ultra-low power consumption, and low latency.

The parallel nature of LightBundle™ is well-matched to parallel chiplet interfaces like UCIe, OpenHBI, and BoW, and can also be used to extend the reach of existing compute interconnects like PCIe/CXL, and HBM/DDR/GDDR memory links, as well as various inter-processor interconnects like NVLink with low power and low latency.