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Vector Photonics set to commercialize its PCSEL semiconductor lasers

11 Nov 2020

University of Glasgow spinout is also awarded £280,000 grant to develop its photonic crystal surface emiting laser technology.

Glasgow University spinout Vector Photonics, which has developed photonic crystal surface emitting semiconductor lasers (PCSEL lasers), is poised to commercialize its proprietary PCSEL technology, which has been in development since 2012.

Vector’s commercial team, comprising Neil Martin and Euan Livingston, has significant experience of the entire photonics supply chain. The company’s technical team includes the inventors of the all-semiconductor PCSEL technology: Dr. Richard Taylor, Dr. David Childs and Prof. Richard Hogg.

CEO Neil Martin commented, “PCSELs are low cost, robust, have a broad wavelength range and high power. This combination gives them a huge advantage over most of the laser technologies used today.

This includes vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), which are robust, but compromise wavelength range and power, and edge emitting lasers (EELs), which have broad wavelength range, but are expensive to make and are fragile to handle.

“Like VCSELs, PCSELs emit light from their top surface, making them easy to package and incorporate into PCBs and electronic assemblies. They are also produced in a similar way to EELs, allowing us to draw on existing supply chain expertise and capacity as we grow.”

Vector’s initial focus is hyperscale datacenter applications. However, PCSEL technology also brings critical, new functionality to LiDAR, mobile consumer, biometric and sensing markets, added Martin.

Vector awarded £280,000 grant

Vector Photonics also announced it has received a £280,000 ($365,000) UK Government grant to support project LOCAL, validating its photonic crystal surface emitting semiconductor laser technology for use in datacoms applications.

The £280,000 grant comes from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, run in collaboration with the University of Glasgow.

Vector Photonics CEO, Neil Martin, said, “The government grant clearly demonstrates the strategic importance of our PCSEL technology to the UK and the world-wide photonics industry. Project LOCAL allows us to focus on cloud datacentre applications – a huge growth market driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, Internet of Things and the 5G roll-out.”

Project LOCAL’s full title, Lasers for Communications Applications, will see Vector Photonics’ PCSELs used in data-centre transceivers. However, PCSEL technology is equally applicable to LiDAR, mobile consumer, biometric and sensing markets, where semiconductor lasers enable critical, new functionality.

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