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New Diffractive Optical Element Lenses and related industrial services

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SUPERvisionary (New Diffractive Optical Element Lenses and related industrial services)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-02-28

SUPERvisionary project focuses on development of advanced diffractive lenses and aims at revolutionizing market of 3D sensing technologies in consumer electronics. The main applications for the technology are mobile phones and LiDAR systems and increasingly, industrial applications. All areas have a common demand for low-cost, high-quality optics, which at the same time is light, compact and can be mass produced. This calls for a novel and superior solution, which is being developed by NIL Technology. By applying nanostructures on surfaces, NILT has demonstrated advanced flat diffractive solutions, which meet all these requirements. NILT has unique competences and know-how within mastering and replication of these structures for the sensing applications. Throughout SUPERvisionary project, NILT has expanded its core competences to also cover design services, replication services and characterization services – all to bring the technology to the point of commercialization. With the expansion of the competences, NILT will be able to capture a major part of the value chain and enhance its presence on the market.
SUPERvisionary project run for 24 months and the work was split over 5 work packages. All the milestones and deliverables critical for the implementation of each work package were reached in the foreseen plan. All the objectives of the project were met or exceeded.

WP 1 Project management and IPR
Objective of this work package was to 1) assure effective execution of the project and 2) implement IPR strategy. Both parts were done successfully. Project's objectives, milestones and deliverables were achieved in the requested time. The budget spent on the project exceeded the initially foreseen budget, mostly due to the fact that the project was fully aligned with NILT's business strategy, and the team was fully committed to achieving and exceeding the goals. IPR strategy was defined and implemented in the beginning of the project, resulting in a significant number of patent applications.
WP 2 Design and Optical test services
Objective of this work packages was to mature NILT’s design process, to reduce the overall design lead times, and implement a professional design-for-manufacturing process, including related end-of-line optical design test methodology and facilities. All objectives were met. The design time was reduced by more than 90%. The optical lab is fully equipped and capable of performing a whole range of optical measurements, which cannot be done on any commercially available equipment. In all the designs, manufacturing tolerances are requirements are taken into account.
WP 3 Mastering services
Objective of this work package was to establish professional Mastering Services and services to deliver Replication master tools. Standard procedures for manufacturing silicon masters and replication master tools for several types of optical elements have been developed, optimized and implemented.
WP 4 Replication services
Objective of this work packages was to develop the pilot replication line and to support prototyping and small/medium scale fabrication of DOE’s for the customers. A prototyping line and a basic clean room with the most necessary tooling and equipment for replication, lithography, stacking, dicing, and testing are today in place and fully operational. Feasibility of replicating DOE structures from Replication master on low volume production line was demonstrated and a standardized process is now in place. Quality control process is implemented.
WP5 Marketing and commercialization
Objective of this work package was to define and implement the global marketing and commercialization strategy to grow. Marketing strategy was defined and implemented. NILT has demonstrated its technology at CES and Photonics West in the beginning of 2022 and has been very active on social media. Also, several press releases have been done during the last 12 months. NITL has been very proactive towards the customers and is creating the opportunities whenever possible to pitch the DOE's excellence. Several potential customers have been testing samples to verify their performance.
SUPERvisionary project was 100% aligned with NILT’s strategy and had all the attention needed in order to achieve all the project goals and that is what made the project successful. NILT reached all the goals of the project, and today has state-of-the-art design, mastering and replication services in place to supply diffractive optical elements to our customers. These are supported by an excellent team with unique competences, which is still growing and is expected to reach more than 150 employees in 2025. NITL has been very focused on promoting the technology in different ways: direct meetings with potential customers, presentations at relevant conferences, press releases informing about the ground-breaking achievements, such as reaching record-high efficiency by DOE fan-out or launch of highly advanced flat optics technology platform for near-infrared (NIR) used in 3D sensing. Market potential for NILT's technology within consumer electronics, automotive and industrial applications is enormous and is expected to grow exponentially.
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