A Revolution in Semiconductor Laser Technology

Vector Photonics produces PCSEL-based, III-V semiconductor lasers – the most significant innovation in laser design and manufacture for 30 years. The company is a spin-out company from the University of Glasgow; one of the UK and world’s Optical and Photonics centres of excellence. It has received a £4.1m equity investment, alongside government funding of £5.7m, taking its total seed funding to over £9.8m.

PCSELs (Photonic Crystal Surface-Emitting Lasers) are low cost, robust, have a broad wavelength range and high power – a unique combination of key characteristics which gives them a huge advantage over all other semiconductor laser technologies used today. PCSELs are made in a similar way to EELs (Edge Emitting Lasers), allowing established supply chains to be utilised in their manufacture. They also emit light from their top surface, making them easy to package and incorporate into PCBs and electronic assemblies for the many domestic and industrial applications they benefit.

Photonic Crystal Surface-Emitting Lasers

Vector Photonics has proven its revolutionary, proprietary, PCSEL technology in both an R&D, laboratory environment and in commercial fabs. The company is now transferring key design and process knowledge into an industrial environment, for high-volume manufacture.

Our proud development history

Vector Photonics was formed as a separate company in March 2020. It is a spin-out from one of the world’s leading academic groups in Photonics at the University of Glasgow.

Produced the world’s first ‘all-semiconductor’ PCSEL, demonstrating the underlying technology.

Successful grants and awards

During its development, Vector Photonics has received IET, ICU, EPSRC, RAE and TEC grants and funding. The company has also been successful in IECT, CC Kickstart, Converge and RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator awards, in recognition of its revolutionary new technology.

A University of Glasgow spin-out

Vector Photonics joins an extensive list of companies successfully spun-out of the University of Glasgow.

Vector Photonics produces its PCSEL laser technology, under exclusive license, from the University of Glasgow; which is also a shareholder in the company. The technology, protected by patent, was invented and developed by Dr. Richard Taylor, our CTO, alongside other academics.

Neil Martin, CEO of Vector Photonics, was previously CEO of CST Global, a semiconductor fab based in Blantyre, Glasgow. CST Global was also a University of Glasgow spin-out which merged with Intense Ltd, another University of Glasgow spin-out, before being successfully acquired by Sivers Semiconductors in 2017.

Our Fabless Production Model

Vector Photonics operates a ‘Fabless’ production model, outsourcing its fabrication to semiconductor foundry partners around the world. Each fab partner has a range of specialist capabilities in design, manufacturing, test and characterisation, as well different volume capabilities and production availability. The fabless model builds resilience, flexibility and scalability into the supply chain, allowing the company to match foundry partners with PCSEL projects.

Fabless production enables Vector Photonics to bring new, all-semiconductor PCSELs to market quickly. It caters for volume increases; reduces our risk of supply chain bottlenecks; and future proofs us against consolidation.

To be effective with a fabless strategy, Vector Photonics has invested in skilled and experienced design and development engineers, with extensive production experience. Unlike most other fab-lite or fabless photonics companies, this means all Vector Photonics’ design and production ‘know-how’ is kept within the business.

The Vector Photonics Team

The Vector Photonics team has unrivalled, technical capability and commercial experience. Our technical capability includes the inventor of the all-semiconductor, PCSEL technology itself. The commercial team has detailed knowledge of the entire photonics supply chain, with direct access to a global customer base and their specific product requirements.

The Global Semiconductor Market – our focus

By 2024, Yole Développement predicts the combined semiconductor laser market to be worth $8.9bn across consumer, automotive, telecoms, medical, industrial, defence and aerospace markets. This figure comprises the EEL market, valued at $5.1bn, and the VCSEL market, valued at $3.8bn.

Since PCSELs offer significant advantages over both EELs and VCSELs, the entire, combined market is an opportunity for PCSELs.

Vector Photonics is at the forefront of the new and developing, PCSEL laser technology. The company will continue to develop and improve manufacturing techniques and broaden its range of applications. The initial focus is on next generation datacenters, where PCSELs are the only technology capable of meeting the high, data transmission requirements.

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