PhotonDelta, a photonic chip accelerator in the Netherlands, has opened an office in Silicon Valley — marking a milestone moment for the Dutch semiconductor sector.

The move is part of PhotonDelta’s goal to create a unified photonic chip industry that leverages the capabilities of both European and US-based companies.

Founded in 2018, the organisation has built an integrated photonics ecosystem in the Netherlands, which boasts an end-to-end value chain, from design and manufacturing to packaging and testing. In 2022, it received a €1.1bn investment from the Dutch government to boost the country’s position in the field.

Photonic chips use light instead of electricity to carry and transmit information. Their integration into electronics promises smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient devices.

Thanks to their technical advantages, they can not only accelerate AI development, but are also particularly suitable for technologies such as sensors, quantum computing, and telecoms.

The Netherlands has emerged as a leading player in photonic chip research and development. According to PhotonDelta, the Dutch industry has raised over $500mn in the past five years. The country is particularly strong in Indium Phosphide and Silicon Nitride photonic chips.

With the new Silicon Valley base, PhotonDelta aims to combine the Netherlands’ strengths with US expertise in silicon photonics.

“As we stimulate the internationalisation of our value chain, we need to connect our know-how, expertise, networks, and funding in North America and the Netherlands,” said Jorn Smeets, Managing Director North America at PhotonDelta.

Collaborating on the development of photonic chips holds significant promise for both the Dutch and the US semiconductor industry. It could also prove a valuable addition to the West’s arsenal in its chip war with China.

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