7 June 2021
BluGlass’ prototype lasers meet commercial power and wavelength specs
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 provided an update on the status of its laser diode development, executive changes and rights issue.
Progress developing laser diode products
BluGlass says that, in the latest results of testing of early samples for its laser diode development, the prototype laser diodes are showing results consistent with commercial specifications for output power and wavelength, demonstrating the soundness of the firm’s wafer epitaxial process.
However, reliability testing has demonstrated weaknesses with the post-epitaxy production steps, with gradual loss of light output due to degradation of the optical facet of the BluGlass laser chip when operated to high power in continuous-wave conditions.
BluGlass says that, while disappointing, the results confirm that its core laser diode design is working to specification, and the challenges that the firm is facing are in production steps involving third-party providers. As an historically R&D business, these steps are new to BluGlass, but are also well understood in the industry generally, and hence the firm is confident that they can be solved expeditiously.
BluGlass intends to place all of its short-term focus on resolving the reliability issue, and over the coming year on all aspects of the production supply chain to scale commercial-grade products needed by the market – to be demonstrated by customer orders of the firm’s product. Given the nature of the challenge, BluGlass intends to seek additional experienced assistance in the post-epitaxial phase of development, from those with established production capabilities from the industry.
To ensure the success of this phase of work, BluGlass proposes to undertake a non-renounceable rights issue to current shareholders to raise up to $8m. The firm is finalizing the terms of the offer and it is expected that the terms and accompanying offer booklet will be released to the market prior to the commencement of trading on 9 June.
Proceeds from this offer should ensure sufficient financial runway to secure the necessary resources, and to allow the required development time to apply those resources, and secure initial customer orders.
Giles Bourne has advised the firm of his intention to step down as managing director & CEO, effective immediately. After 13 years at BluGlass, both Bourne and the board believe that it is time for the firm to recruit a new CEO for its next stage of development.
“During his time at the helm, Giles has built a globally focused semiconductor research business, which is poised to move into its next stage of its growth,” comments BluGlass’ chair James Walker.
Walker will take on the role of executive chair as the company undertakes a search for a new CEO.
Laser diode industry appointments
Reflecting its intended approach to ensuring it can deliver on the production aspects of its laser diode development, BluGlass says that it is pleased with the contributions already made by recently appointed laser diode experts JeanMichel Pelaprat as non-executive director and Dr Arkadi Goulakov as a senior scientist (announced on 3 May and 30 April, respectively).
Goulakov has already applied his deep fabrication and product integration expertise to the Development and Operations team in the USA and identified key areas of improvement.
BluGlass says that it intends to build on these appointments, to ensure it has the right skills in place to complement the technical successes of the core BluGlass team and application of its IP to create fully production-ready laser diodes.
The company is finalising the terms of its proposed offer and expects to release the terms and accompanying offer booklet to the market prior to the commencement of trading on 9 June.
In conjunction with the offer, to both preserve cash and increase alignment with shareholders, BluGlass’ non-executive directors have agreed to take 50% of their professional fees over the coming three months in equity, at the same price as the rights offering (subject to shareholder approval). Each of the directors intends to take up their full entitlement under the rights offer.