Higher data throughput thanks to nanotech


ETH-Spinoff Polariton develops the world’s fastest and smallest electro-optic modulators. Recently, Venture Kick awarded the Zurich based company 150,000 francs in pre-seed funding.

Our world is filling with digital devices that need to communicate with each other, and modern lifestyles mean that people want to receive more data via the internet. Modulators, which convert electrical signals into the light signals necessary to cross the world through fiber optic cables, are an essential part of our communication infrastructure.

The ETH Zurich Pioneer Fellow Claudia Hoessbacher (picture) and co-founders Wolfgang Heni and Benedikt Bäuerle use shorter-wavelength plasmonics, instead of normal light, to shrink these components to the nanoscale, while providing unprecedented speeds of data transmission and reducing its energy consumption. Polariton's modulators transmit at up to 500 GHz, 10 times faster than the prevailing photonic modulator technology.

Recently, Polariton obtained 150 000 francs from Venture Kick. The money will be used to validate business assumptions and meet potential customer and suppliers worldwide. The team recently demonstrated its nanotechnology – the culmination of six years of research – to international key opinion leaders and gained its fourth team member.

The Zurich-based startup has initiated contact with investors as it seeks to raise $1-2 million in a seed round at the beginning of next year, in order to add experienced business development staff and refine its modulators for first-customers in the test and measurement sector.