Livingston’s Optoscribe seals Japanese alliance

Optoscribe, the Livingston-based optical technology business, is eyeing further growth after inking a “strategic alliance” with Japanese tech heavyweight Sumitomo.

L-R: Steve McMahon, Nick Psaila and Mark Hesketh of Optoscribe. Picture: Contributed
L-R: Steve McMahon, Nick Psaila and Mark Hesketh of Optoscribe. Picture: Contributed

The tie-up focuses on the provision of multicore fibre (MCF) components for data and telecoms use.

Industry commentators believe that the initial commercial deployments of MCF will be at large-scale data centres where the need for speed is paramount. The likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook are expected to be early adoptors of the technology.

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MCF is an optical fibre that contains multiple cores in a single array, much like in the copper world with multi-core electrical cable.

Optoscribe’s 3D glass-based integrated circuits are aimed at a range of applications including data centre optical transceiver interconnects and consumer electronics.

Nick Psaila, chief executive of Optoscribe, said: “We are delighted to embark on this strategic cooperation with Sumitomo Electric.

“We see this as a great opportunity to jointly address the performance challenges faced by datacom and telecom applications, while creating and fostering the supply chain for further deployment of multicore fibre and related technologies.”

Tatsuo Saitoh, head of optical communication laboratory at Sumitomo Electric, added: “We believe that both companies with cutting-edge technologies can create a new market and ecosystem for multicore fibre-based interconnects. We are excited that our products will solve customers’ challenges for ultra-high density optical interconnects.”

Financial arrangements surrounding the alliance have not been disclosed.

Sumitomo Electric has more than 250,000 workers across almost 400 group companies, operating in 40 countries.

Last September, Optoscribe secured almost £3 million in funding to expand its operations and meet increasing consumer demand.

It announced it had successfully closed an investment round of £2.8m, which will allow the ­firm to grow its production ­capabilities and engineering resources.

Private equity manager Maven Capital Partners co-led the investment round, together with existing investor, business angel investment syndicate Archangels, calling the tech company an “attractive” proposition.

The West Lothian firm also received ­further funding from Par Equity, the Scottish Investment Bank and its own ­management team.

A spin-out from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, ­Octoscribe has become a global supplier of glass-based integrated ­circuit components used in the telecommunications and data communications ­markets.

Its laser direct-write technology produces optical ­components at a wafer level, enabling a simple and precise means of getting light to and from the components within optical transceivers and other circuits. It claims this allows transceiver manufacturers to reduce overall costs by adopting more automated assembly processes. Last May, it was certified to “the most updated standard of its kind” by the International Organisation for Standardisation.