Pilot Photonics raises €1.8m to light up digital revolution

Dublin firm Pilot Photonics has created technology that creates multiple lasers from a single device.

DCU spin-out company Pilot Photonics has raised €1.8m in a funding round by Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund II.

The company’s innovative technology is based on 10+ years pioneering research and development undertaken at DCU, Trinity College Dublin and Tyndall National Institute in Cork. 

“Ireland was early to recognise the importance of photonics and has invested heavily in photonics R&D for more than 25 years”

Pilot Photonics is led by CEO William Oppermann and CTO Frank Smyth. William Oppermann was founder of Kernel Capital portfolio company MPSTOR which was successfully sold to Sanmina Inc, in 2016. Frank Smyth, co-founded the company and has co-authored over 80 research publications, filed multiple patents and served as an Expert Reviewer in photonics and optical communication for the European Commission.

The science of light

Photonics is the science of light and it is one of the key enabling technologies of the 21st Century.

Now ubiquitous, photonics is used in manufacturing, medical devices, telecoms, security and even for scanning your grocery items. 

“The world we know today would not exist without photonics and the influence of the technology will grow even further as it converges with advances in artificial intelligence, delivering new applications across a broad spectrum of markets including telecoms, healthcare and autonomous vehicles,” explained Denise Sidhu, partner, Kernel Capital.

Pilot Photonics has developed novel ‘comb laser’ technology using its patented ‘gain switching’ technique that allows it to generate and manipulate waves of light with exceptional precision and effectively creates multiple lasers from a single device.

Combining this with state-of-the-art semiconductor processing known as photonic integration, Pilot’s devices are suitable for mass production and offer performance, size, cost, power, and stability advantages over traditional single wavelength lasers. Application markets include telecoms, automotive, aerospace and energy.

“Ireland was early to recognise the importance of photonics and has invested heavily in photonics R&D for more than 25 years,” said Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

“Pilot Photonics is leveraging that state investment in early-stage R&D to create advanced technology products with global potential.”


John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.