Nano-optics startup raises $4.3M to miniaturize solid-state lidar

July 22, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Nano-optics startup raises $4.3M to miniaturize solid-state lidar
Voyant Photonics Inc. (New York, NY) has raised $4.3 million to develop its silicon photonics approach to lidar.

The money has come from Contour Venture Partners, LDV Capital, NEU Venture Capital and DARPA, according to reports.

Voyant was founded in April 2018 by Chris Phare, CEO, and Steven Miller, CTO, who had both been PhD graduates from Cornell University and visiting researchers at Columbia University specializing in nano-optics.

Miller's research has focused on integrated nonlinear optical frequency combs generated in on-chip microresonators.

The company has already produced a silicon optical phased array that operates with infrared light but changes the phase of the light traveling through waveguides on the chip. The result is a beam of non-visible light that can illuminate a wide swathe of the environment at high speed without moving parts.

Many existing lidars use time-of-flight at 905nm wavelength but suffer range limitations due to eye-safety considerations as well as concerns about multi-user crosstalk. These problems can be avoided using frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar on a chip designed to operate at 1550nm wavelength.

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