Quantum Computing

Bristol-Based Startup Light Trace Photonics Awarded £50k Innovation Prize for Developing Advanced Photonics Educational Devices

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Insider Summary:

  • QantX has awarded Light Trace Photonics the £50,000 Blavatnik Prize for Innovation to support their development of tools to train the next generation of photonics engineers.
  • Light Trace Photonics is a startup that pioneered integrated photonics — microchips capable of routing and manipulating light.
  • Light Trace Photonics CEO, Dr Jake Biele, said the photonics industry has the potential to dwarf the electronics industry, however, few students are familiar with the word photonics when they start college, let alone photonic chips. The company’s job is to inspire students into photonic engineering careers by introducing them to photonic chips in a fun and interactive way, ultimately helping to prepare them for the industry with the skills they need to develop innovative & applicable technologies that can help solve big problems. .

Light Trace Photonics, co-founded by Bristol University Alumni Dr Jake Biele (CEO) and Dr Dominic Sulway (CTO), is a startup pioneering integrated photonics — microchips capable of routing and manipulating light. Their mission is to use photonic chips to unlock photonics’ full potential in providing efficient and workable solutions to key problems including the climate crisis, increasing pressure on the NHS, and lagging productivity.

The UK’s Photonic Leadership Group predicts that the photonics industry will provide an additional 150,000 highly skilled jobs and become one of the three most productive manufacturing sectors in the UK by 2035. However, the industry is currently facing a skills shortage that threatens the commercialization of a technology that holds great promise for addressing
this problem. The prize will help fund the development of Light Trace Photonics’ first product, an educational device that uses a photonic chip to address this shortcoming.

Similar to the Raspberry Pi, the Light Trace Photonics device will take previously complex experiments out of the lab and into the classroom where students can assemble their own photonic systems while learning the basics of how to program photonic chips.

CEO of Light Trace Photonics, Dr Jake Biele, said:

“The photonics industry has the potential to dwarf the electronics industry, but few students are familiar with the word photonics when they start college, let alone photonic chips. Our job is to inspire students into photonic engineering careers by introducing them to photonic chips in a fun and interactive way. In doing so, we help prepare them for the industry with the skills they need to develop innovative & applicable technologies that can help solve big problems.”

We thank QantX for their support, and look forward to working with them in our quest to unlock the full potential of one photonic chip at a time.”

QantX CEO, Richard Haycock, said:

“As the world develops new technologies at an exponential rate, photonics is emerging as a key driver of innovation and progress. Harnessing the power of light, photonics is driving advances in communications, sensing, computing and more. Light Trace Photonics has impressed us with their long-term integrated photonics vision and we are very pleased
to support them with the Blavatnik Prize for Innovation.”

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About Light Trace Photonics
Light Trace Photonics (LTP) was co-founded by University of Bristol Alumni Dr Jake Biele (CEO) and Dr Dominic Sulway (CTO) who both hold PhDs in Quantum Engineering from the Quantum Engineering Center for Doctoral Training. LTP is an expert in photonic chips and is on a mission to address the shortage of photonic engineers in the UK by developing devices
which helped introduce photonics to undergraduates using photonic chips.

LTP had previously been awarded an Innovate UK Fast Start grant which helped us run the company in December last year. Additionally, Jake has been awarded Innovate UK’s Young Innovator award 2021/22 which recognizes young people with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation. The University of Bristol has also provided LTP with funding from the Jim & Peggy Wilkinson foundation to help purchase equipment for our laboratory in Bristol.

About QantX
QantX is a leading software innovation-focused venture capital firm with a mission to support and accelerate the growth of early-stage startups that leverage cutting-edge technology to create a positive impact on society. QantX invests in innovative companies across industries, providing them with capital, mentorship and resources
they need to succeed.

SOURCE: Light Trace Photonics

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