Aurrion, Inc. was founded in 2008 by UC Santa Barbara alum Alexander Fang and UCSB Professor John Bowers from the Engineering and Materials Department. Gregory Fish, a UCSB alum and co-founder of another successful UCSB startup, Agility Communications, joined Aurrion in 2009 to become the CTO. Aurrion is an optoelectronics company which specializes in integrating photonic and electronic components into silicon chips. Both Greg and Alex hold an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UCSB.
Before Aurrion, traditional optical transceivers resembled a transistor radio, formed from many discrete optical components. Aurrion’s expertise in silicon photonics allowed optical transceivers to be built with all the optical components in a single integrated chip using identical manufacturing facilities as modern electronic products, resulting in low cost. High performance was maintained by Aurrion’s key technology of manufacturing silicon photonics with the heterogeneous integration of InP materials, resulting in advanced photonic networks capable of current industry performance needs, but at mega data center scale and cost.
In 2016, network infrastructure corporation Juniper Networks acquired Aurrion for $165 million. The parent organization saw that Aurrion was integrating InP into silicon photonics at the wafer scale, finding an innovative way to create a fabless semiconductor business model for making photonics. Lasers, which were difficult and expensive to make, are integrated into the chips by combining III-V materials with silicon and processing it within the silicon fabrication process. This manufacturing is very advantageous to Juniper Networks, who intend to leverage Aurrion’s cutting-edge technology to their long-term competitive advantage in the high-speed computing sector.
The exponential growth in bandwidth intensive applications like video streaming and social networking requires a way to increase the connections between servers. Within Juniper Networks, Aurrion is redefining datacenter infrastructure with their core technology that is cost efficient, power efficient and scalable for WDM architectures while also enabling greater functionality.
Partners Fang and Fish have a total of over 30 patents and have authored or coauthored 120 papers. Prior to the successes and acquisition of Aurrion, CEO Fang worked for IBM and Intel, and CTO Fish co-founded Agility Communications, Inc another UCSB based successful startup.