Ayar Labs strikes government contract, Eyes Growth

Ayar Labs has been awarded a $15 million multiyear prototype Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) in support of Project KANAGAWA — the Co-Packaged Analog-Drive High-Bandwidth Optical Input/Output Project. The OTA, a nontraditional government contracting method for fast tracking research and innovation, was issued by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division to support the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering Trusted & Assured Microelectronics (T&AM) program.

In a separate development, Ayar Labs also added two industry veterans to its executive team in newly created roles.

KANAGAWA will promote the development of Ayar Labs’ optical interconnects to lead its transition into the DOD’s advanced packaging ecosystem, the company said. During the first phase of Project KANAGAWA, Ayar Labs will deliver its optical input/output (I/O) chiplets and lasers at data rate bandwidth levels exceeding 2 Tbit/s and energy losses below 5 pJ/bit.

In phase two of the project, which is to run parallel to the first phase, Ayar Labs and collaborators Intel, Lockheed Martin, and Qorvo will develop and demonstrate co-packaged optical I/O solutions built on Ayar Labs’ TeraPHY optical I/O chiplets and SuperNova multiwavelength lasers.

“Project KANAGAWA comes at an important time for both our nation and Ayar Labs as we look to mature U.S.-based manufacturing for our optical I/O solutions,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs.

Beyond phase two of the project, Ayar Labs this year has formalized collaborations with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, GlobalFoundries, Lumentum, and, last month, Lockheed Martin. The Lockheed Martin collaboration aims to develop sensory platforms that use Ayar Labs’ optical I/O microchips to transfer data at a lower latency and at a fraction of the power of existing electrical I/O solutions. The platforms, according to Ayar Labs, could be used across DOD applications to capture, digitize, transport, and process spectral information.

The company’s appointments fill two vice president positions: vice president of products, strategy, and ecosystem, as well as vice president of manufacturing and operations.

Lakshmikant (LK) Bhupathi, who takes over as vice president of products, strategy, and ecosystem, joins the company after 20 years with Marvell Semiconductor in a variety of design, technical marketing, and product roles. Scott Clark, vice president of manufacturing and operations, served most recently as vice president of supply chain at Corsair Gaming.

In addition to the executive leadership team hires, Ayar Labs opened new offices in San Jose, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass. The San Jose office features 8 times as much cleanroom space as the company’s existing office in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will facilitate the company’s test, measurement, validation, and qualification efforts upon completion in 2023, according to the company.

Ayar Labs’ vice president of manufacturing and operations Scott Clark. Courtesy of Ayar Labs.