About Us

Members of Nonlinear Materials’ leadership team in the lab
Members of Nonlinear Materials’ leadership team in the lab. From left: Delwin Elder, director of materials development; Bruce Robinson, senior adviser; Paul Nye, chairman and president; Lewis Johnson, chief scientific officer; and Gerard Zytnicki, CEO. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Nonlinear Materials Corporation (NLM) is a Seattle-based pioneering platform company delivering technology, materials, and full-lifecycle services for organic electro-optic (OEO) materials. 

We provide solutions to bring about faster, more energy efficient, and lower-cost computing through photonic technology and processes. NLM was formed in August 2018 around a 20-year vision to reinvent the computer business — computing, telecommunications, data processing, etc. — with tight integration of electronics and ultrafast optical components. We are poised to become ubiquitous in computing and high-speed communications. Photonics is the future of technology infrastructure. 

Our industry and NLM’s origin story. 

In 2000, researchers at the University of Washington (UW), the University of Southern California, and industrial collaborators reported a breakthrough in telecommunications technology from a team led by Professor Larry Dalton. This innovation, called an “opto-chip,” utilized high-performance OEO materials and enabled ultra-efficient encoding of information on beams of light (e.g. in fiber optics) and was posited to enable real-world applications such as ubiquitous broadband, real-time digital video delivery and conferencing, 3D high-definition displays, and integrated sensors for autonomous cars. These incredible technologies were futuristic at a time when most people still accessed the internet through dial-up modems and when DSL lines were a cutting-edge technology. 

All the above technologies were invented using traditional semiconductors (CMOS) and fiber optics during an era when we still had Moore’s Law on our side. But today, Moore’s Law is coming to a standstill, severely limiting performance improvements at a time when the demand for computing resources is compounding. This demand requires new and innovative technologies and approaches that build off today’s platforms and enable continued rapid growth in performance 

However, research developments at UW and elsewhere in OEO materials and nanophotonic devices led to a transformation in electro-optic device technology. The NLM team formed by combining these OEO researchers with veterans from Microsoft and the startup world, who bring a proven record of transforming computing. 

NLM is at the forefront of the photonics revolution. 

Through our proprietary materials platform, NLM optimizes the development, engineering, and continuous enhancement of OEO used in photonic devices for a wide range of applications in computing and telecommunications. Our materials are scientifically backed through rigorous R&D with NLM’s current offerings cited in over 50 peer-reviewed publications. Current members of the NLM team collectively account for several hundred peer-reviewed publications on OEO materials and related technologies over the last 20 years. 

Our vision is that future computing and high-speed communications will be based on the NLM materials platform built upon existing CMOS platforms. 

At NLM and with our partners and customers, we’re advancing hybrid OEO technologies that will revolutionize computing and communications. Our materials can be integrated with proven CMOS and silicon photonics platforms and deliver dramatic increases in performance and power efficiency. We believe in partnering across the computing ecosystem to make this happen. 

With OEO applications, imagination and discovery are often the only limit. Right now, our customers and focus include semiconductor manufacturers, device makers, cloud computing providers, internet backbone providers, telecommunications firms, 5G equipment developers, and innovators in optical and quantum computing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Our OEO materials enable devices that run at faster speeds and are more energy-efficient than any other photonics platform on the market — and they’re available today.  

Our team cannot wait to connect with you.  

We’re excited about the future and remain committed to our mission to bring electro-optic solutions for computing and high-speed communications to the world. Now’s the time. Won’t you join us?