BluGlass lands first purchase order for prototype laser

Brandon How

Sydney-based laser diode manufacturer BluGlass has made the first sale of its innovative distributed feedback laser, demonstrating demand for the cutting-edge technology.

The alpha prototypes of its gallium nitride (GaN) blue distributed feedback (DFB) lasers will be used in the testing and development of innovative technologies, with applications in the defence, aviation, and scientific sectors.

According to BluGlass, its first customer is “a pioneer and fiber-based laser technology”. The first purchase order has been welcomed by the company as a significant strategic step in the development of its laser diodes, although “the revenue for this order is immaterial”.

BluGlass chief executive Jim Haden

BluGlass said that demand for single frequency visible lasers, such as GaN DFB lasers, is being driven by quantum sensing, navigation, and computing applications.

For the first purchase order, BluGlass’ laser will operate at a wavelength of 450 nanometers, which is blue light.

BluGlass is one of the first companies in the world to develop viable DFB lasers in gallium nitride through its partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara’s SLEEC Consortium.

BlueGlass chief executive Jim Haden welcomed the first customer order and said it is an important step in advancing the firm’s development agenda.

“Our first customer order of BluGlass prototype GaN DFBs reflects the significant interest in these ultra-precision lasers for quantum, defence, and commercial applications,” Mr Haden said.

“Novel capabilities such as DFB lasers form a key pillar of our growth strategy, and we will continue to leverage our RPCVD technology to enhance BluGlass’ DFB lasers, achieving advanced single frequency performance at blue wavelengths and beyond.”

The lasers have unique characteristics in terms of frequency, beam fidelity, linewidth narrowness, and power that are required to stimulate quantum transitions used in new technologies across advanced robotics, bio-medicine, and atomic clocks used for quantum navigation.

The properties of single frequency visible lasers also has applications in enabling advancing ranging and underwater communications, gas sensing, stand-off threat detection, and high-performance spectroscopy.

The ASX-listed firm is headquartered in Sydney, while its American operations are based out of Nashua, New Hampshire. It has fabrication facilities in Silicon Valley and Boston.

Last October, BlueGlass was named as the only Australian member of the United States Department of Defense’s Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors Hub, one of eight Microelectric Commons regional innovation hubs being established.

At the InnovationAus Awards for Excellence held in November, BluGlass won the Australian Hero Award and the Defence, Dual-Use, and Space Award.

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