Major National Award for UofG Semiconductor Laser Spin-out

Published: 16 November 2021

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A company established as a spinout from the University of Glasgow has won a significant national award for their semiconductor laser technology. The founders of Vector Photonics have received the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Colin Campbell Mitchell Award at an event at the Academy’s Enterprise Showcase.

The Award, named in honour of one of Scotland’s most accomplished marine engineers, is made annually to an engineer or small team of engineers who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of any field of UK engineering.
Professor Richard Hogg of the University’s James Watt School of Engineering, Dr Richard Taylor and Dr David Childs founded Vector Photonics in 2020, based on technology developed at UK universities.
The team’s ground-breaking photonic crystal surface emitting laser (PCSEL) combines and improves upon the strengths of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL) and edge-emitting lasers (EEL), involving a novel laser geometry that eliminates the compromise between speed, cost, and power inherent in previous semiconductor lasers.
Scalable and able to operate at any wavelength, PCSELs are a game-changing technology with applications in the datacoms sector but also offers a step change in performance for telecommunications, additive manufacturing, sensing and lidar. Many different types of lasers are currently on the market and businesses must choose the ones that will best meet their particular purposes. In future, the PCSEL may fulfil all requirements for diode laser manufacturing.
What makes Vector Photonics’ design approach particularly attractive is its compatibility with existing semiconductor device manufacturing processes, simplifying the build and delivery of their PCSEL devices.
Though in its infancy, the company has already secured more than £2.5 million in company grant funding, £1.6million in equity investment, increased its headcount to 16 people and generated enough international attention to have some of the world’s largest companies requesting samples and contracts.

First published: 16 November 2021