Traditional processors from Intel, AMD or Nvidia have known limitations around speed, energy efficiency and electromagnetic interference. For example, mainstream chip makers like TSMC and Samsung are currently racing to switch to the 3nm process for customers like Apple and Nvidia.
Meanwhile, photonics is becoming a bigger sector as chipmakers look for faster solutions. Unlike electrons, wavelengths of light do not interact which means you can create parallel streams of data within a chip. The global photonics market size was estimated at $630 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach an expected value of $1.100 trillion by 2030, for example.
All-optical processor startup Akhetonics thinks it has the answers.
It has now raised €2.3 million in early-stage funding led by deep-tech investors Runa Capital. Other investors include Interface Capital, Rheingau Founders, Thomas Pirschke (Co-founder of Trade Republic) and Marie Tai (Principal at Possible Ventures).
Akhetonics claims to have multiple prototypes of the optical transistor and the design foundation of a processor.
Its competitors include Lightmatter, LighIntelligence, Optalysys. The Berlin-based startup says its all-optical processors will have higher bandwidth and faster speeds with greater efficiency and information density than electronic ones.
It aims for a full-scale optical CPU, with a full prototype by 2024.
“Our mission at Akhetonics is to create an entirely new computing technology – the world’s first optical general-purpose CPU. We are driven by the ambition to push the boundaries of what is possible in computing,” said Michael Kissner, CEO of Akhetonics in a statement. “The funds raised will play a key role in realizing our vision, accelerating our research and development efforts and enabling us to integrate our innovative technology into our first product.”
Dmitry Galperin, a Berlin-based general partner at Runa Capital added: “We see tremendous opportunity in Akhetonics’ innovative approach to all-optical processing. Their technology has the potential to revolutionize multiple sectors, from high-performance networking and security devices to quantum computing.”