Lumera Corp. of Bothell, Wash., has completed a $24 million round of funding to establish its proprietary polymer as a key to faster fiber-optic networks.
The new firm is developing optical-component prototypes for market entry next year. Lumera plans to use light-sensitive organic molecules called chromophores that react when electrically stimulated. The molecules are blended into a chemically synthesized polymer then attached to a semiconductor chip. When charged, the chip aligns the chromophores, enabling them to block light or let it pass.
Investors include Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.; Barksdale Group of Menlo Park, Calif.; Acorn Ventures Inc. of San Francisco; and Washington Research Foundation fund manager WRF Capital of Seattle.
Lumera aims to market optical components to networking equipment makers. Embedded molecules can shuttle data at 100 gigabits per second, faster than expected requirements for most next-generation optical systems. The technology would use less power and generate less heat.
Under an exclusive agreement, the University of Washington has licensed certain nonlinear chromophore technology to Lumera for $200,000 and 802,414 shares of common stock. Lumera will pay royalties to UW on related sales and fund-sponsored research over three years.
Microvision Inc. of Bothell has established Lumera as an independent subsidiary.
Nasdaq-traded Microvision focuses on microminiature optical-scanning technology for display and imaging applications.