Brolis Semiconductors: photonics’ leading light comes to Flanders

In 2012, the Vizbaras brothers—two technical whiz kids and one former maritime student—founded a Lithuanian photonics technology company that would take the European tech world by storm. Just over 5 years later, Brolis Semiconductors was crowned Newcomer of the Year during the Foreign Investment Trophy on February 27, 2018. This prestigious ceremony, hosted by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), highlights remarkable international investments in the region of Flanders.

Brolis Semiconductors is growing at a rapid pace. After carrying out groundbreaking photonics research together with the University of Ghent—one of Flanders’ top universities—the young Lithuanian company decided to choose Ghent as the home for a new R&D office in 2017. At its very first base in Flanders, the firm will develop novel photonic systems and plans to hire 5 to 10 local engineers in the next 3 years.

From miniaturization to large-scale production

Brolis Semiconductors specializes in infrared light sources for a broad variety of applications—from night vision goggles to devices for the detection of gasses in grain silos, for example. To make this photonic technology as tiny as possible and integrate it into miniscule silicon-based chips, the Lithuanian company will rely on its new R&D division in Ghent, Flanders.

“Once we’ve managed to achieve this miniaturization, we’re looking at the possibility of low-cost, large-scale production,” says Dr. Andreas De Groote, who will be leading the R&D activities and comes from Ghent University’s renowned Photonics Research Center. “Put differently, at the new Flanders’-based R&D center, we are paving the way for integrated hybrid chip technology with novel application possibilities. Think of extremely small remote laser sensors in industrial and healthcare applications, such as smart wearables.”

Successful first steps in Flanders

“We are delighted to set up R&D activities in Flanders,” comments Augustinas Vizbaras, co-founder and head of Chip Technology at Brolis Semiconductors. “Ghent, for example, is renowned worldwide for its silicon photonics research, the foundation of our innovative efforts. Our successful collaboration with the Photonics Research Group at Ghent University proved to be the decisive trigger that propelled us to commercialize our GaSb/SOI technology. We feel like we are in good company in Ghent.”

“Winning the Newcomer of the Year Trophy 2018 only adds to the warm welcome we have received in Flanders,” Vizbaras concludes. “It’s both an honor and a recognition of the hard work of our motivated workforce back home. We couldn’t have made it here without them.”

Left: Augustinas Vizbaras, Co-founder, Head of Chip Technology, Brolis Semiconductors
Right: Andreas De Groote, Sr. Engineer  Silicon Photonics, Brolis Semiconductors