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Sylvie Menezo, a pioneer in future high performance, high-speed transmissions for data centers

Following 11 years of experience in the industry and in business development, Sylvie Menezo joined CEA-Leti in 2010, first as a research engineer, and then as the Integrated Photonics lab leader and project manager. 

Published on 3 March 2022

A former research scientist with NZAT (USA), head of optical technologies at Sercel Group (France and USA), and a development engineer in III-V semi-conductor laser processes at Alcatel – Currently a member of the OFC technical program and of the ePIXfab (European Silicon Photonics Alliance) steering committee.

While at CEA-Leti, she identified an optical communication technology capable of significantly accelerating data exchange speeds within data centers. Called Scintil, the project won the i-Lab competition, and received its first funding from BPI France in 2018.

The same year, Sylvie Menezo founded the startup Scintil Photonics with Pascal Langlois, in order to industrialize and sell the new technology. Everything went very fast: from recruiting engineers, manufacturing prototype circuits in CEA-Leti's cleanrooms, and introducing the project to investors to creating a subsidiary in Toronto. 

Aside from the technological component, for which we relied on the portfolio of patents developed at CEA-Leti, everything had to be created," Sylvie Menezo explains.

In practice, Scintil Photonics creates fully integrated silicon-based photonic circuits. In short, these circuits contain all the components that are required for optical communications, from lasers to modulators and photodetectors. The startup's integrated circuits have two key advantages:  they are quicker and less costly than existing solutions. Moreover, there is a market for them, as 80% of data transiting through data centers.

Sylvie Menezo continues to work closely with CEA-Leti's teams alongside a team of designers from the University of Toronto. She is considering adding new members to her team in the near future. 

I hope there will be a hundred of us over the next five years. The market we are targeting should reach three billion dollars yearly."   

Scintil Photonics in brief:

  • ACTIVITY : A pioneer in future generations of low-cost very high-speed optical transmission circuits intended for high-performance computers in the cloud, data centers, and 5G communications infrastructures.

  • SITING: Grenoble launched in 2018 with approximately €4M in private investment funds, Hired 15 employees, including a team of 3 in Toronto.

  • TECHNOLOGY: SCINTIL PHOTONICS® develops silicon-based photonic integrated circuits and creates high-speed optical transmission solutions. These are essentially intended for data storage centers, high-performance computing, and 5G.

  • STRATEGIC LINES: An ambition to become a reliable, independent supplier of silicon-based photonic integrated circuits, essentially meeting data center needs. In the longer term, exploring Lidar applications and supporting quantic photonics.

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