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20 October 2008


BluGlass forms Technology Council to drive commercialization

To supports its transition to the commercial phase of development of its GaN-on-glass LED technology, BluGlass Ltd, which was spun off from Sydney’s Macquarie University, Australia in 2005, has supplanted its former Technical Advisory Committee and chief technology officer (CTO) functions by establishing a Technology Council of four experts.

CTO & founding scientist Dr Scott Butcher has assumed a part-time role for health reasons, but will continue to assist the technology team by remaining active in the technical aspects of gallium nitride (GaN) film growth technology. Over time, he will also focus on the research of alternative group III nitride applications that are expected to create strategically important IP and commercial opportunities.

CEO Giles Bourne says that establishing a Technology Council enables BluGlass to draw on world-leading expertise to keep its technical team focused on industry needs (both current and future). The firm is in the process of re-positioning itself from a research-based proof-of-technology enterprise to being a market-focussed product development company. The Technology Council aims to provide direction and support for the timely commercial delivery of the firm’s remote plasma chemical vapor deposition (RPCVD) GaN-on-glass LED manufacturing technology, which targets cutting the cost of GaN wafers. BluGlass’s technology team, led by Butcher, has developed techniques for commercializing the firm’s new-generation nitride platforms.

Applications for BluGlass’s GaN manufacturing technology include LEDs for mobile appliances, signs/displays, automotive, signals and illumination. The high-brightness LED market is expected to grow from $4bn to $12bn by 2012, but BluGlass’s low-cost GaN manufacturing technology could allow LEDs into mass markets such as the $100bn general lighting market.

BluGlass opened its pilot manufacturing plant in Silverwater, Sydney in July, and is now in discussions with lighting manufacturers about their commercial use of its LED production process, Bourne says.

The Technology Council is chaired by professor Chennupati Jagadish (chair of BluGlass’s former Technical Advisory Committee), joined by Dr Petar Atanackovic (an expert in CMOS ICs, compound semiconductors and optoelectronics), and (from BluGlass’s internal technical team) senior research scientist Dr Marie Wintrebert-Fouquet and equipment design and development manager Conor Martin.

Jagadish worked in India and Canada prior to moving to Australia in 1990. He is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation fellow, professor and head of the Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group in Australian National University's Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, and convenor of the ARC Nanotechnology Network. Jagadish has published more than 500 research papers, has five US patents, and won the 2000 IEEE Millennium Medal.

“It is important to develop new technologies to improve the efficient use of energy, such as solid-state lighting, in which the company is aiming to be a major player,” says Jagadish. “The global environmental implications of this technology are potentially large,” he adds.

“BluGlass is a unique enterprise offering significant technology innovations in one of the highest commercial growth areas of nitride-based compound semiconductors,” says Atanackovic. “The BluGlass technology and commercialization roadmap is well positioned to develop cost-effective industry solutions and improve energy efficiency in the area of solid-state lighting.”

Atanackovic received a PhD in Physics from the University of Adelaide in 1996 and was a senior research scientist at Australia’s Defence Science & Technology Organisation before becoming a visiting scholar at Stanford University 1998-2001 (working on optical interconnects, photonic devices and atomically engineered semiconductors). In 2001, he founded Translucent Inc in Palo Alto, CA (acquired this May by Silex Systems Ltd of Lucas Heights, Australia) where, as CTO, he developed new silicon-based photonic technology and was principal investigator in an Electronics & Photonics Integrated Circuits program funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Atanackovic is currently CTO for nanotechnology research firm Zcells Pty Ltd. He has more than 20 US patents in fundamental semiconductor materials, high-performance electronics and optoelectronics, and alternative energy concepts.

After graduating from France’s University of Montpellier II in 1995 with a PhD in optoelectronics, electronics and systems, Wintrebert-Fouquet worked in Macquarie University’s electronics department (gaining experience in precision engineering with semiconductor components as well as modeling, designing and fabricating resonant tunneling diodes and transistors) and in the physics department (growing and characterizing thin nitride films of GaN and InN). Her expertise lies in overseeing and maintaining the integrity of characterization, and ensuring that material development is targeted at LED devices.

Martin graduated in 2001 with a degree in Experimental Physics and a Masters in High Performance Computing from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. After five years in Europe in the Product Design and Development Department of a major semiconductor equipment maker, he joined BluGlass in January 2007. His expertise lies in product design and development, particularly the use of computational fluid dynamics to optimize BluGlass’s equipment and RPCVD process (speeding up development time and cutting time to market for the firm’s products). Martin provides hardware and process development support for BluGlass’s equipment as well as technical support for sales & marketing.

See related items:

BluGlass’s plant opened by Australian Environment Minister

BluGlass to open pilot manufacturing plant in July

EMF announces multiple MOCVD orders

BluGlass makes its first quantum well LEDs

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