Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SK Hynix Invests in Stratio

Korea Times: SK Hynix has invested 2.2 billion won (~ $1.86M) in Stratio, a Silicon Valley startup, in what officials say is a part of a corporate strategy to increase its stake in the rising image sensor segment. For that amount, SK Hynix got a 9.1% stake in Stratio. Other Stratio investors include K Cube Ventures (Tech for Korea), a venture company that funds and supports startups and young entrepreneurs in Korea, that invested $1M in October 2014.

Stratio develops Ge-on-Si based SWIR image sensors, said to be cheaper than their predecessors. The company has been established in 2013 and led by Lee Jae-hyung, who worked at Boston Consulting Group and Samsung Electronics. Stratio Photonics West 2015 presentation sheds some light on its technology and value proposition:

Semicon West startup introduction page states: "Stratio, Inc. was founded in 2013 by four Stanford Electrical Engineering PhDs. Stratio’s core technology is low-cost germanium (Ge) based short wavelength infrared (SWIR) image sensors suitable for incorporation with mobile devices. Stratio’s sensor utilizes a proprietary hybrid process that combines selective Ge epitaxial growth with established Si CMOS technology to overcome the limitations of conventional InGaAs-based SWIR sensors. Stratio's unique manufacturing process has a high thermal budget and results in a two chip package (sensor and ROIC) that allows for greater manufacturing flexibility than traditional monolithic sensor solutions. In addition, Stratio is developing a low-cost, portable hyperspectral imaging system for use with our sensor."

Stratio's Youtube video from May 2014 shows its SWIR camera attachment for iPhone:


  1. Continuation of Nobel Peak?

    1. They ought to talk to former Noble Peak employees about what happened there. The founders were also from Stanford.

      NoblePeak Vision Corporation is (WAS) a privately held company which develops and manufactures a new generation of imagers and camera cores with breakthrough night vision performance. Through a germanium enhanced CMOS process, NoblePeak has developed a revolutionary imaging technology known as 'TriWave', with the ability to sense visible, near infrared (NIR) and short wave infrared (SWIR) light sources. NoblePeak Vision Corporation was founded in December 2002 by Dr. Clifford King and Dr. Conor Rafferty.

      The founders of NoblePeak Vision Corporation were both engineers and managers at Bell Laboratories, and the two colleagues graduated from Stanford University. The company has assembled a veteran team of semi-conductor and electro-optical professionals and specialists. They have brought together their experience working with Bell Laboratories, Agere, Lucent, Analog Devices, Intel, and Digital Equipment.

      Series A funding from the Matrix Partners and Northbridge Venture Partners was completed in March of 2006. Series B funding was secured two years later, in March of 2008, from Chart Venture Partners. The company currently holds numerous patents in germanium(Ge)-based processing for imagers and has received awards from the United States government, which include a grant from the National Science Foundation.

      For their most recent achievement as a company, NoblePeak had won the 'New Product Showcase' which was sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA). In March of 2007, the company changed its name from 'Noble Device Technologies' into 'NoblePeak Vision Corporation' so as to emphasize more on the products that they will develop and offer to the market. The headquarters of the company is located in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

    2. Eric , could you please continue the story please? Thanks so much!

    3. Oh, I cut and pasted most of the above information, which I failed to mention. It is from, a domain now for sale, apparently. I did hear the follow-on story, or stories, some from former companies execs. Some have to do with manufacturability, others ITAR, and some regarding funding. Not sure which was the actual cause of death. I do know the IP was acquired by another company a couple of years ago.

    4. The end of the story:

    5. Not so fast. There is reincarnation:

  2. Are there any issues for polymer ML cooled to -80C please ?

  3. No problems with microlenses when operating the sensor at -80C or colder. No delamination, discoloration or obscuration. There is a high power incident light limit (TBD).


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