Traditional processors from the likes of Intel, AMD, or Nvidia have well-known limitations around speed, energy efficiency, and electromagnetic interference. For instance, foundational chip makers like TSMC and Samsung are currently racing to move to the 3 nm process for customers like Apple and Nvidia.
In the meantime, photonics is becoming a bigger sector as chip makers look for faster solutions. Unlike electrons, light wavelengths do not interact, meaning you can create parallel data streams inside a chip. The global photonics market size was valued at $630 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach an expected value of $1.100 trillion by 2030, for instance.
All-optical processors startup Akhetonics thinks it has the answers.
It’s 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 foundation of a processor’s design.
Its competitors include Lightmatter, Lightelligence, Optalysys. The Berlin-based startup says its all-optical processors will have a higher bandwidth and faster speeds with greater efficiency and information density over electronic ones.
The company is aiming for a full-scale optical CPU, with a full prototype by 2024.
“Our mission at Akhetonics is to create a completely new computing technology — the world’s first all-optical general-purpose CPU. We are driven by the ambition to push the boundaries of what is possible in computing,” said Akhetonics CEO Michael Kissner in a statement. “The funds raised will play a pivotal role in bringing our vision to life, accelerating our research and development efforts, and enabling us to integrate our groundbreaking technology into our first product.”
Dmitry Galperin, a Berlin-based general partner at Runa Capital, added: “We see tremendous opportunities in Akhetonics’ innovative approach to all-optical processing. Their technology has the potential to revolutionize multiple sectors, from high-performance networking and security hardware to quantum computing.”