29 October 2020
BluGlass to develop lasers for Yale in DARPA-funded LUMOS program
BluGlass Ltd of Silverwater, Australia – which develops low-temperature, low-hydrogen remote-plasma chemical vapor deposition (RPCVD) technology for manufacturing devices such as laser diodes, next-generation LEDs and micro-LEDs – has received a US government-funded subaward contract from Yale University to help the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop novel laser diode technology.
BluGlass is commercializing its proprietary low-temperature remote-plasma chemical vapor deposition (RPCVD) technology for manufacturing group III-nitrides, offering better-performing, lower-cost devices and more environmentally sustainable processes for producing LEDs for automotive and overhead LED lighting, micro-LEDs for wearables and virtual reality (VR) displays, and power electronics for efficient power conversion.
In addition, in 2019, BluGlass launched its direct-to-market Laser Diode business unit to exploit its unique tunnel-junction technology capability in the high-value, high-margin laser diode market. The firm expects to launch its first laser diode commercial product in 2021.
Now, in the first phase of a three-phase program scheduled to last 18 months, BluGlass and Yale will conduct paid R&D under DARPA’s Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) initiative, which seeks to combine efficient integrated optical systems and complete photonics functionality onto a single substrate.
Lasers are essential for optical communications, remote sensing, manufacturing and medical applications. Photonic integrated circuits have allowed unprecedented advances in optical systems for a wide range of applications, including light detection & ranging (LiDAR), signal processing, chip-scale optical clocks, gyros, and data transmission. However, these two technologies are currently limited by the incompatibility of the materials used to create them – silicon photonics are easy to manufacture but are poor light emitters while compound semiconductors enable efficient emitters but are difficult to scale for use in complex integrated circuits.
Together, Yale and BluGlass research teams are aiming to combine these two technologies to create high-performance lasers and amplifiers with photonic integrated circuits in a single device for applications such as compact optical phased-array LiDAR and neuromorphic optical computing.
BluGlass is supplying custom GaN laser diodes and laser epitaxial wafers to Yale for incorporation into a photonic integrated circuit (PIC). BluGlass says that its unique technology capabilities provide increased design and manufacturability options to combine nitrides and photonic integrated circuits. Specifically, the firm’s epiwafers will pump a novel Yale laser design that is to be fabricated under the program.
“This opportunity allows BluGlass to showcase our capabilities in GaN laser epitaxial growth technology, while demonstrating the integration of our technology into next-generation laser applications such as photonic integrated circuits, that could lead to further commercial opportunities,” says executive VP Brad Siskavich.
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