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The Photonics Research Group has a strong focus on the applications of photonics. The group is supported by an IOF Business Development Center NB-Photonics (formerly IOF Plateau). This leads to a number of bilateral contracts with photonics companies in Belgium, Europe and abroad. Besides supporting companies, the Photonics Research Group has also established 6 spin-off companies so far.
  2018 MEEP In December 2018, the biotech company MyCartis has announced the addition of a point-of-need testing technology, ANTELOPE Dx (developed at Ghent University), to complement its immuno-assay technology offering. In 2022, MEEP re-acquired the Antelope technology and will continue the development of the doctor-at-home proposition. 
    Sentea In September 2018, researchers from the Photonics Research Group (UGent) & imec, founded Sentea. Sentea will develop and market advanced silicon photonics based fiber optic sensing solutions. These will be used to continuously monitor engineering structures for signs of damages that over time could lead to catastrophic failure, as well as to control industrial installations to maximize their efficiency.
  2016 Indigo Diabetes In December 2016, researchers from the Photonics Research Group (UGent), imec, CMST (UGent) & Intec Design (UGent) founded Indigo Diabetes nv (Indigo). Indigo develops the next-gen needle-free glucose sensors for diabetics. Indigo's first product addresses the need for accurate, low-cost glucose monitoring systems with an optimal user experience.
  2014 Luceda Photonics In June 2014, researchers from Photonics Research Group (UGent), imec and B-Phot (VUB) founded Luceda Photonics. Luceda Photonics wants photonic IC engineers to enjoy the same first-time-right design experience as electronic IC designers. Luceda Photonics' tools and services are rooted in over 50 years of experience in photonic integrated circuit (PIC) design. The team's expertise in the development of process design kits (PDK) and the design and validation of photonic integrated circuits is used by several research institutes and industrial R&D teams worldwide. The company was founded by Wim Bogaerts, Erwin De Baetselier, Pieter Dumon, Martin Fiers, Joris Geessels and Pierre Wahl, valorizing key research at imec, the Photonics Research Group of the UGent and the B-Phot team at the VUB.
  2010 Caliopa

In September 2010, researchers from Photonics Research Group (UGent-imec) founded Caliopa. Caliopa will develop and market advanced silicon photonics based optical transceivers for the data and telecommunications markets.

In 2013 Huawei announced its continued investment expansion into Europe today through its acquisition of Caliopa from Baekeland, Fidimec, Ghent University, PMV, and other individual shareholders. The acquisition is part of Huawei's strategy to enhance its European research and development capabilities, in particular in the silicon photonics-based optical solutions space. Huawei will integrate Caliopa into its existing R&D centre in Belgium. The deal, which was completed on 6 August 2013, will give Huawei full ownership of Caliopa. Caliopa is based in Ghent (Belgium) and will continue its strong partnership with UGent and imec following this acquisition.

  2006 Trinean Trinean is a Belgium based instrumentation company, bringing micro-volume molecular spectroscopy to the next level by combining best in class analytical software with a highly standardized read-out platform. Founded in 2006 as a spin-out of Ghent University, Belgium and Imec Leuven, Belgium, the company commercializes two instruments, the XposeTM for 'Touch & Go' biomolecule quantification and the DropSense96TM, analyzing up to 96 samples, using microfluidic chips for standardized sample analysis (DropPlates and Xpose Slides). The Trinean platform is complemented with a software toolbox for improved data interpretation and lab-automation.