AES Semigas


27 March 2024

Vector Photonics and University of Glasgow collaborating to develop surface-emitting lasers

Vector Photonics Ltd (which was spun off from Scotland’s University of Glasgow in 2020, based on research led by professor Richard Hogg) and an engineering unit at the University of Glasgow have signed a collaboration agreement to develop lasers that could have a use in manufacturing and consumer products.

The agreement will see Vector Photonics work closely with the Critical Technologies Accelerator (CTA), which is based within the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), a centre of excellence in semiconductor laser R&D at the university.

The new technology involves surface-emitting laser devices and photonic-crystal surface-emitting laser (PCSEL) systems that emit light from their top surface which can be incorporated in a number of novel applications. The technology can be used in the cutting of a range of materials during the manufacturing process. Also, because PCSEL systems work on lower power, they can also be integrated into next-generation augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.

Under the directorship of professor Tony Kelly, the CTA is one of 11 projects in the Glasgow City Region to receive UK Government funding as part of its Innovation Accelerator levelling-up program. The team is working to identify companies in the West of Scotland, like Vector Photonics, where strategic funding enables growth in the quantum and photonics business cluster. CTA supports companies with design, test and manufacturing, and utilizes the expertise of the JWNC and University of Glasgow academic researchers, enabling multiple industry partners to deliver innovative products into both existing and new emerging markets.

“The surface-emitting laser device processing and modelling collaboration between Vector Photonics and the University of Glasgow is the first to be awarded by the CTA,” notes Vector Photonics CEO Neil Martin. “It leverages our pioneering work in this field and will help accelerate surface-emitting laser commercialization, including PCSELs. The resulting lasers, and associated silicon waveguide designs, offer essential, power-saving efficiency benefits in AI and data-center applications,” he adds.

“Our software modelling and prototype device test results correlate, giving us every confidence of a successful outcome for this and any further research. The project is particularly pertinent as multi-billion-dollar, electronic software modelling firms Synopsis and Ansys have merged to enhance their photonics competencies,” Martin continues.

“The collaboration between the CTA and Vector Photonics is an important step forward for the both of us,” says Kelly. “Our design and fabrication capabilities allow us to support Vector’s R&D capabilities and speed up the time to commercialize PCSEL technology,” he adds. “This is the perfect demonstration of the importance of the Critical Technologies Accelerator and how it aims to help the manufacturing base in Scotland work with the local supply chain in the development of new technologies.”

See related items:

Vector Photonics’ £1m ZEUS project to commercialize 1W artificial intelligence PCSEL

Vector Photonics commercializing uncooled 1W, 1310nm CW PCSEL for cloud data centers

Tags: Laser diodes



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