Vector Photonics raises £1.6m for PCSEL laser tech

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Vector Photonics has received £1.6m of equity investment to commercialise its photonic crystal surface emitting lasers (PCSEL) semiconductor technology.

The one-year-old University of Glasgow start-up has already received three government grants worth £2.4m for its PCSEL-based technology, set to benefit applications such as data communications, additive manufacturing (including metal and plastic printing), lidar, and optical sensing.

PCSELs are a type semiconductor laser that use a 2D grating structure which scatters light linearly and orthogonally. Feedback is in-plane and light emission is out of plane, emanating from the laser’s top surface.

Out of plane, orthogonal, surface emission offers a cost advantage for lasers, as it makes them easy to package and incorporate into PCBs and electronic assemblies. Out of plane emission is enabled and stabilised by our 2D grating structure (photonic crystal), creating feedback and single mode emission. The PCSEL structure provides advantages in data rate, wavelength and power performance when compared to equivalent edge emitting lasers (EELs) or vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSELs). 

Neil Martin, CEO of Vector Photonics, said: 'Our PCSELs produce the speed performance of EELs and VCSELs, whilst their tested and packaged cost is 50 per cent that of EELs and they deliver over 10 times the power of VCSELs.' 

Vector Photonics is a spin-out from the University of Glasgow, based on world-leading semiconductor research led by Professor Richard Hogg. 

 

Figure 1: Light propagation inside a photonic crystal is forbidden by a propagation gap, hence common plane waves are reflected and hardly penetrate into the crystal. By shaping the incident waves, they can be steered deep into the crystal. (Image: COPS, University of Twente) 

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