TNO and imec launch photonics collaboration

Pivotal role for Holst Centre in Eindhoven 

28 September 2022 - TNO and imec have signed a letter of intent committing to work together on integrated photonics. Both research centres have each been working on photonics innovations for some time, but will now join forces to accelerate the development of the photonics industry in the Netherlands, Belgium and Europe. The collaboration will start in 2023 within Holst Centre, the research and innovation centre on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, in which imec and TNO have been collaborating since 2005. Holst Centre plays an active role in PhotonDelta's National Growth Fund proposal, and will further strengthen its position as a knowledge centre with this agreement. 

Integrated photonics

In photonics, photons (light) are used to transfer and process information. In integrated photonics, photonic components are integrated into a microchip, following a manufacturing process that builds on that of a conventional electronic chip. It combines the properties of photonics and microchips, allowing information to be transferred and processed faster and more efficiently, saving energy. Applications with integrated photonics could lead, for example, to reduced energy consumption of data centres, safer autonomous cars, fine-grained measurement of food quality and better personalised diagnostics in healthcare.

Luc Van den hove (President & Chief Executive Officer), Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi (CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of TNO)

Holst Centre in integrated photonics

Integrated photonics will be one of the new pillars in Holst Centre's strategy. Together with partners from the PhotonDelta ecosystem (such as Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Twente, Photonics Integration Technology Center and other organisations), it aims to accelerate the development of the European industry around integrated photonics. In doing so, Holst Centre builds a bridge between universities and industry, implementing the technology of integrated photonics into every-day applications. By combining the expertise of imec and TNO, all aspects needed in the development and production process, such as design, prototyping, testing and manufacturing, can be offered. 

Kathleen Philips, director imec at Holst Centre: "The signing of this agreement is a milestone in the collaboration between TNO and imec. It is an ambitious challenge and a unique opportunity, bringing together the expertise of both organisations to put the Netherlands and Belgium even firmer on the map in the field of photonics."

Ton van Mol, director TNO at Holst Centre: "We will combine imec's photonic microchip technology in Leuven, imec's design expertise in the Netherlands and TNO's optics and systems integration knowledge to help develop new sustainable solutions in different industries."