A Revolution in Semiconductor Laser Technology

One day, all lasers will be made this way

Vector Photonics’ PCSELs are the first, major break-through in semiconductor laser technology for 30 years. The company is a spin-out from one of the world’s leading academic groups in Photonics at the University of Glasgow. Its proprietary technology, developed since 2012, places Vector Photonics at the heart of the rapidly growing datacenter industry.

PCSELs (Photonic Crystal Surface Emitting Lasers) are low cost, robust with high speed and power. This combination of key characteristics gives them a huge advantage over present-day, commonly used VCSELs (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers), which compromise wavelength range and power, and EEL lasers (Edge Emitting Lasers), which are high-cost and fragile.

PCSELs have other advantages too. They emit light from the top surface, like VCSELs, making them easy to package and incorporate into PCBs and electronic assemblies. They are also made in a similar way to EELs, so existing, experienced, supply chain capability and capacity can be utilised.

The semiconductor
laser revolution

Semiconductor lasers have revolutionised many aspects of the modern world. They are critical components in optical communications, LiDAR and optical sensing – the fastest growing technology markets in the world right now. Each one of these markets enables many new products and businesses, in industries as diverse as medicine, communications, defence, security, automotive, agriculture and manufacturing.

The world relies on lasers

The critical role lasers play in today’s society and the extents of their use should not be underestimated:

If lasers malfunction the internet stops.

If lasers break, cars will crash.

If lasers fail, security is compromised.

Hyper-Datacenters and us

Vector Photonics has focused on Cloud Datacenter applications for its initial PCSEL designs. This is a huge growth market driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) and the 5G roll-out.

Other markets

PCSEL technology is equally applicable to LiDAR, mobile consumer, biometric and sensing markets, where semiconductor lasers enable critical, new functionality.

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