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Semiconductor firm targets GaN laser diode market

Australian semiconductor developer BluGlass intends to capture 6-10 per cent of the gallium nitride (GaN) laser diode market by 2025.

The announcement came with the launch of the firm’s new laser diode business unit, through which it looks to develop lower cost GaN diodes with higher brightness and higher efficiency using its own RPCVD tunnel junction technology.

The new business unit will be headed by BluGlass’ VP of business development, Brad Siskavich, out of the firm’s US office. 

High-brightness GaN laser diodes are used in cutting and welding applications in addition to applications in the automotive, general lighting, displays, and life science sectors.

Earlier this year Laser Systems Europe was told by Jean-Michel Pelaprat of Nuburu that current GaN diode technology, which is used in Nuburu's blue diode lasers, operates at around 38 per cent efficieny. Once the technology matures, however, he expects GaN diodes to approach the 70 per cent efficiency of the GaAs (gallium arsenide) diodes used in fibre lasers.

The GaN laser diode segment is therefore an emerging market opportunity, which according to BluGlass is expected to grow to represent a $658 million serviceable addressable market (SAM) by 2025. By then the firm plans to have captured $40-65 million (6-10 per cent) of this SAM.

BluGlass is currently developing GaN laser diode prototypes and expects to deliver its first laser diode product next year. The new products, which will initially be targeting welding and cutting applications, are expected by the firm to deliver a clear path to significant revenues from 2021.

‘BluGlass is entering the laser diode market as a result of our success in demonstrating tunnel junctions as a building block for high-performance, cascade LEDs,’ said BluGlass managing director, Giles Bourne. ‘Our RPCVD tunnel junction technology has unique, compelling advantages to drive performance and cost improvements for the GaN laser diode market. LEDs and laser diodes are, in their physics and material growth, very similar, which allows us to accelerate our entry into this new market space without diluting our activities on other RPCVD applications.’

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