BluGlass in Australia has demonstrated working 405nm, 420nm and 450nm blue laser diode designs based on gallium nitride (GaN). The 405nm product development is approaching commercial specifications and the manufacturing supply chain qualification for 2” wafer production is on schedule to complete in the current quarter, says the company. This means it is on track to deliver samples later this year with volume production early in 2021.
“The laser diode business unit has made progress in all three of its development areas: technology, product development and manufacturing preparedness,” said the company. “These results have been verified through multiple fabrication vendors, as we qualify both our laser diode designs and our manufacturing supply chain simultaneously.”
The products include standard laser diode designs and novel tunnel junction designs based on its remote plasma chemical vapour deposition (RPCVD) process technology for multiple market segments, including industrial, display and biotech applications.
As well as 405nm, the 420nm and 450nm blue laser diode devices are demonstrating lasing behaviour, following multiple process steps in fabrication into test devices.
The devices are simulated and modelled, designed, and then grown on wafers at BluGlass’ Australian manufacturing facility. They are then shipped to the US for multiple wafer processing steps including cleaving into individual laser diode chips before final optical coating with the insertion of coated mirrors to enhance the directional emission/lasing, packaging and burn-in testing to 100,000 hours, a key requirement for laser diodes that generate significant amounts of heat.
Some laser diode customers order custom laser diode wafer development, or R&D devices, before any of the downstream processing steps are required. Other customers require uncoated or unpackaged laser diodes or pre-burn in prototypes for custom applications or preliminary evaluation, with others requiring fully processed and packaged lasers.
Target customers range from global research institutions requiring custom laser development to OEMs and distributors, says the company.
In manufacturing, the results from wafers grown earlier in the year were initially delayed due to supply chain impacts caused by Covid-19. This meant the company had to diversify its supply chain, and it is qualifying multiple providers in each segment of the supply chain around the world to help mitigate future delays.
This has speeded up the processing timelines from design and epitaxial growth through to initial testing, with full supply chain qualification this quarter.
The key to the RPCVD process is the low temperature operation for building laser diodes, LEDs and microLEDs from gallium nitride (GaN) and indium gallium nitride (InGaN) on a range of substrates. These materials are crucial to the production of higher efficiency devices for lighting, displays, virtual reality systems and industrial cutting and welding.
The company is also working on 395nm violet devices and 525nm greed LEDs for industrial application alongside the 405nm and 450nm devices. Machine vision lighting is looking at 450nm while bio-fluorescence is interested in all the spectrums available. As well as head up displays and general lighting, the company also has customers aiming to use the blue laser diode devices in photonic quantum computing designs.
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