£600k project will develop PCSELs for more efficient data centres

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Vector Photonics’ PCSEL technology. Credit Vector Photonics

Vector Photonics has received £600k for the new Titan project, which aims to develop photonic crystal surface emitting lasers (PCSELs) for low-power consumption optical interconnections between servers in hyperscale data centres.

The project will see Vector Photonics develop a 1,310nm, continuous wave (CW) PCSEL for the optical interconnections between servers in next generation, hyperscale data centres. The 1,310nm PCSEL will deliver the equivalent system optical performance as the lasers currently used, whilst consuming only half the electrical power and producing far less heat.

Of the total project value, £300k has come from Innovate UK’s Investor Partnership Programme. This has been match-funded by private investment from UKI2S, a deep-tech seed fund for UK-based, research spinouts; the Scottish Growth Scheme, managed through Foresight Group Equity Finance; and Equity Gap, an angel syndicate investing in emerging Scottish businesses.

Richard Taylor, CTO of Vector Photonics, said: 'The lasers being used in the network processing architecture of hyperscale data centres require so much electrical power to operate, that it is the heat they create, and the energy used by the systems which cool them, which has become the limiting factor to increased optical performance,' he said.

'Not only do our low-power consumption, 1310nm, CW PCSELs aim to dramatically reduce the heat produced but also, they are equally applicable to the two, network processing architectures currently evolving – namely co-processor optics and the more traditional, pluggable, direct modulated, laser optical transceivers.'

Graphic demonstrating the PCSEL technology. Credit: Vector Photonics

Vector Photonics’ technology is protected by two, key patents, based on the research of three of its founding members Dr Richard Taylor, Dr David Childs and Professor Richard Hogg. The patents are licensed to Vector Photonics by the University of Glasgow on an exclusive, worldwide basis with the right to sublicence.

Project Titan's full name is PhoTonIc CrysTal LAsers for EtherNet applications.