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The First Universal, Programmable, and Multifunctional Photonic Chip on the Market

Researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València’s Photonics Research Laboratory (PRL)-iTEAM, in collaboration with iPRONICS, have designed and manufactured a revolutionary chip for use in telecommunications, data centers, and AI computing infrastructure.

The First Universal, Programmable, and Multifunctional Photonic Chip on the Market

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This is the world's first programmable universal photonic chip with versatile applications. It promises to enhance technologies such as 5G communications, data centers, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, satellites, drones, and autonomous vehicles.

The innovative UMWP-Chip was developed under the European project coordinated by researcher José Capmany and funded by an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. The findings were published in Nature Communications.

Developed and manufactured by the UPV and iPRONICS team, this device allows on-demand programming and interconnection of wireless and photonic components in communication networks. It effectively prevents bottlenecks that could otherwise limit capacity and bandwidth.

It is the first chip in the world with these characteristics. It can implement the twelve basic functionalities required by these systems and can be programmed on demand, thus increasing the efficiency of the circuit.

José Capmany, Professor, Universitat Politècnica de València

The UPV professor, a leading expert in photonics, explains that applications like 5G and autonomous vehicles require higher frequencies. This necessitates smaller antennas and their associated circuits.

In this scenario, UPV’s PRL-iTEAM successfully designed the converter behind the antenna—a compact interface chip—that supports both current and future frequency bands while maintaining minimal size.

This chip is already integrated into an iPRONICS product, the Smartlight, and Vodafone has tested it.

For us, the development of this chip is a crucial step because it has allowed the validation of our developments applied to a growing problem, the efficient management of data flows in data centers and networks for artificial intelligence computing systems. Our next goal is to scale the chip to meet the needs of this market segment.

Daniel Pérez-López, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, iPronics

Journal Reference:

Pérez-López, D., et. al. (2024) General-purpose programmable photonic processor for advanced radiofrequency applications. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-45888-7


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