An optical wafer
University News

Myrias Optics, Founded by UMass Amherst Faculty Member, Secures $3 Million Seed Investment Round to Deploy New Class of Optics

Myrias Optics logo

Myrias Optics, built on research developed by the Watkins Group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, announced today that it has secured a $3 million seed investment led by Asia Optical Inc. Myrias, an emerging developer of all-inorganic printed meta-optics, will use the funding to meet growing customer demand and interest in the company’s structure, materials and process technology platform. This investment round also includes participation from UMass Amherst, Tenon Ventures and HOSS Investment Inc.

UMass Amherst professor Jim Watkins holding an optical wafer
James Watkins exhibits an optical wafer in the Watkins Lab

Myrias Optics enables the next generation of meta-optics for augmented reality/virtual reality, consumer electronics, machine vision, advanced robotics, automotive light detection and ranging, defense and aerospace. The company, founded by UMass faculty member James Watkins, plans to manufacture optics in Western Massachusetts and hire a substantial workforce.

“We are very excited to already have multiple Tier 1 customers engaging in AR/VR and consumer electronics applications where Myrias IP and expertise provide unrivaled cost, performance and lifetime advantages over existing etched or printed polymer-based processes,” said Myrias CEO Patrick Tan. “Going forward, we are particularly excited to work with Asia Optical to develop and deploy a new class of optics that enables products that are compact, lighter and easier to assemble at significantly lower costs.”

An optical wafer
An optical wafer

“Our investment and partnership with Myrias is aimed at advancing the development of meta-optics for high-performance optical modules and products,” said Asia Optical’s Chairman Robert Lai. “By integrating multiple functions into a single meta-optic layer, we anticipate creating systems with fewer components making it much easier to make. Asia Optical looks forward to developing and extending our optical product offerings across all the industries we serve.”

Development and adoption of the optical technologies developed by the Watkins Group is poised to accelerate substantially in Massachusetts thanks to a $5 million award from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative announced in October 2023. The grant will enable UMass Amherst to establish an open-access Advanced Optics Fabrication and Characterization Facility on its campus, a unique resource available to industry partners such as Myrias and researchers across the state.

About Myrias Optics, Inc.
Founded in 2021 by Professor James Watkins, Myrias Optics has secured exclusive worldwide license to six foundational patents with priority dates dating back to 2012, relating to “structures, materials and additive manufacturing process technology” using nano-particle formulations. Deployed in AR/VR, consumer electronics and defense applications, Myrias’ technology produces superior device performance at unrivaled costs. Myrias’ printed “all-inorganic” meta-optics integrates multifunctional optical performance into a single layer, which can replace multi-element lens assemblies.

About Asia Optical
Asia Optical (TSE: 3019), founded in 1980, is mainly engaged in the production and sales of optical lenses and optoelectronic products and has diversified capabilities designing and manufacturing optical products. With the core advantage of precision glass molding technology, Asia Optical can develop diversified applications to exert technology innovation for future business opportunities. These applications include specialty optical elements, high-end mobile phone camera lenses, automotive lenses, riflescopes, and laser range finders, as well as smart video conference devices and robot moving platforms for AGV and AMR products.

About Tenon Ventures
Tenon is a new Venture Capital firm formed by serial entrepreneurs and advisors who are leveraging their proven track records to help craft the next generation of deep tech ideas into successful companies.

About HOSS Investment Inc.
HOSS Investment is a Taiwan investment firm focused on companies in advanced manufacturing and new deep tech technologies.

Chancellor Javier Reyes, Jim Watkins and other UMass representatives stand amongst dignitaries who attended the announcement of a $5 million grant from the MassTech Collaborative to Boost Advanced Optics Technology Production in Western Mass

The grant to UMass Amherst announced in October will establish the first open-access R&D facility for advanced optical components in the United States.