Sheffield, England / April 2021.
Phlux is an exciting new spin out company from the University of Sheffield, incorporated in 2020, with a vision to revolutionise infrared sensing.
Today, Phlux has kicked off a project with Innovate UK “Phlux: Next generation infrared APDs” worth £300k to develop a range of high sensitivity detectors for LIDAR systems.
LIDAR is an optical perception technology that enables machines to see the world. The demand for LIDAR systems is expected to skyrocket due its application in environmental mapping and navigating self-driving cars. Infrared sensors are a critical component of LIDAR systems with sales expected to grow at a rate of 19% annually between 2020 and 2025.
Phlux is in a perfect position to help LIDAR systems manufacturers meet the requirements of these demanding applications. The company is developing a range of high performance detectors for sensing applications that use infrared light. Phlux’s sensors are based on a new semiconductor technology that was developed at the University of Sheffield that delivers industry leading sensitivity. In addition to seed investment, this grant from Innovate UK will enable the Phlux team to develop advanced prototypes for integration into commercial LIDAR systems used by autonomous vehicles for navigation, and environmental mapping tools.
“Phlux’s new sensor technology will greatly benefit LIDAR systems for autonomous vehicles by helping them sense their surroundings much more accurately, ultimately improving navigation safety” states Phlux’s CEO, Ben White “The high sensitivity of Phux’s detectors will enable LIDAR systems to accurately detect lower amounts of light, enabling them to see further with lower rates of misdetection.”
The 12 month project funded through InnovateUK’s ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) competition will enable the team to design application specific prototypes and validate them in commercial LIDAR systems. Read more about the teams ICURe journey.
Phlux’s chair, David Crisp said, “Alongside private investment, this grant will be instrumental in accelerating the commercialisation of this technology, taking it from lab demonstrators to prototypes ready for industrial trials. The government grant clearly demonstrates the importance of our sensor technology for the UK, and the global photonics industry.”
This Innovate UK grant marks another major milestone for Phlux. In 2020 Dr Ben White, CEO of Phlux, was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering and £60k of equity free funding.
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