my practical approach to achieving simple,
robust measurement solutions. It motivated
me to found Pie Photonics, proving the
maxim that opportunity lies at the interface.
In 2012, my wife Niamh and I set out to
mobilize the power of interferometry as a
“mom and pop” business team. Our core
technology is the passive interferometer
engine (Pie), which combines interferometry
with optical fiber processing to measure
frequency, phase, delay and amplitude for
any narrow or broadband light source in a
static, mobile unit—a kind of Swiss army
knife for optical measurement.
Securing the right support and seed
investment is considerably difficult for any
hardware startup, but seeking funding in
Ireland brings its own set of challenges.
Food and agriculture are the primary mainstays in the country, although tech companies have made some inroads, particularly
software developers. Hardware propositions
remain a hard sell, however.
For this reason, I headed stateside in
October 2012 in search of American Pie!
Our journey through the valley of death—a
commonly used business term that refers
to the difficulty of covering negative cash
flow in the early stages of a startup—has
been littered with minefields of bad deals,
time-wasting “experts,” crazy numbers
games and veiled-contract pitfalls. In
order to establish a sustainable business,
we needed to find the right supporters
who understood what we were doing and
contributed in an informed way.
Through my network of contacts, I
ultimately secured support from a U.S.
alliance of investors that shared our vision,
University of Bath,
Our core technology is the passive interferometer
engine (Pie), which combines interferometry with
optical fiber processing to measure frequency, phase,
delay and amplitude for any narrow or broadband
light source in a static, mobile unit.
Inc., a leading
Now that Pie
is a reality, our
hear the blackbirds singing!
support from the
Pie’s first prototypes were designed and assembled between
the converted attic and kitchen table of our
Pie Photonics launched our portable
static fiber interferometer and FT-spec-trometer at Photonics West last February
and was recognized with a Best New
Technology Award at Pittcon in Philadelphia last March, when we brought three
more products to market. Pie interferometers have been featured in several news
and product focus articles in high-profile
In November 2012, Pie moved to a
2,500 square foot facility in my hometown
of Tullamore, in the heart of the Irish
Midlands. From there, the Pie team has
developed a portfolio of products, including the latest Super-Octave release “PieX,”
a device about the size of a lunchbox that
captures 700 nm of information with up
Dominic Murphy, CEO of Pie Photonics
Courtesy of Pie Photonics