Newly Formed Startup, Vector Photonics, Set to Revolutionize Semiconductor Laser Market

Posted Nov 17, 2020 by Vector Photonics

New start-up, Vector Photonics, produces PCSEL-based, semiconductor lasers – the most significant innovation in laser design and manufacture for 30 years. The company, a spin out from the University of Glasgow this year, will commercialise proprietary technology developed since 2012.

The Vector Photonics’ commercial team, comprising Neil Martin and Euan Livingston, has detailed knowledge of the entire photonics supply chain. The technical team includes the inventors of the all-semiconductor, PCSEL (Photonic Crystal Surface Emitting Lasers) technology itself, Dr. Richard Taylor, Dr. David Childs and Prof. Richard Hogg.

Vector Photonics CEO, Neil Martin, said, “PCSELs are low cost, robust, have a broad wavelength range and high power. This combination of key characteristics gives them a huge advantage over most of the laser technologies used today. This includes VCSELs (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers), which are robust, but compromise wavelength range and power, and EEL’s (Edge Emitting Lasers), which have broad wavelength range, but are expensive to make and are fragile to handle. “PCSELs emit light from their top surface, like VCSELs, 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 Photonics’ initial focus is Hyperscale Datacentre applications, however, PCSEL technology brings critical, new functionality to LiDAR, mobile consumer, biometric and sensing markets.

Vector Photonics has also received a £280k Innovate UK government grant to support project LOCAL, validating its unique PCSEL, all-semiconductor laser technology for use in datacomms applications. The £280k grant comes from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, run in collaboration with the University of Glasgow.

According to Neil Martin, the government grant clearly demonstrates the strategic importance of our PCSEL technology to the UK and the world-wide photonics industry. Project LOCAL allows Vector Photonics to focus on Cloud Datacentre applications – a huge growth market driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) 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.