19 October 2021
Vector Photonics wins Royal Academy of Engineering award for outstanding contribution to engineering
Photonic-crystal surface-emitting laser (PCSEL) firm Vector Photonics Ltd of Glasgow, Scotland, UK has won the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) Colin Campbell Mitchell award for ‘the greatest contribution to the advancement of any field of engineering in the past four years’. Previous winners of the UK-based award include the team that developed Ford’s 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine; Oxehealth, non-contact health monitoring; and Optical Networks Group for advancements in optical communications. Colin Campbell Mitchell OBE FRSE (1904-69) was one of Scotland’s most accomplished marine engineers, credited for the development of the aircraft carrier steam catapult.
Picture: Left to right: professor Richard Hogg, Dr David Childs and Dr Richard Taylor.
The Vector Photonics winning team, comprising Dr Richard Taylor, Dr David Childs and professor Richard Hogg, received the award for the PCSEL, a low-cost, high-speed, high-power surface-emitting laser. “It’s the biggest development in semiconductor lasers in 30 years,” comments professor Steve Beaumont OBE, vice-principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow, who nominated them for the award. “The engineering accomplishments of the team look set to revolutionize the field of photonics – an achievement deserving of this award alone – and, thanks to their varied, multi-disciplinary and complementary skillset, they have also managed to accelerate through the ‘technology readiness levels’ and create a rapidly expanding company.”
The team invented and is now commercializing the technology, which was initially focused on datacoms but is beneficial to multiple semiconductor applications. Vector Photonics was spun out of the University of Glasgow in March 2020. Within a year, the firm has secured private investment and innovation grants worth over £4m.