BluGlass raises $4.3m to scale laser diode production

Semiconductor tech developer BluGlass has raised $4.3 million from institutional and sophisticated investors to scale production, just weeks after making the first sale of its gallium nitride distributed feedback lasers.

The ASX-listed company announced the “strongly supported” share placement on Monday, while also revealing plans for a forthcoming share purchase offer to raise a further $9 million over the coming months.

The funding from the capital raise will be used to “scale and speed production and delivery of BluGlass’ visible lasers to fulfil new and existing contracts”, as well as the development of “next-generation products to increase market competitiveness”.

Image: Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

In a statement, BluGlass chair James Walker said the additional funding from investors “reflects growing confidence in BluGlass’ visible laser technology, experienced management and significant growth runway”.

The company, which is headquartered in Sydney and has fabrication facilities in Silicon Valley and Boston, made the first sale of its gallium nitride (GaN) blue distributed feedback (DFB) lasers to a “pioneer in photonic and fibre-based laser technology” last month.

It is one of the first companies in the world to develop viable DFB lasers in gallum nitride, which have defence, aviation and scientific applications, including in quantum sensing, navigation and computing.

BluGlass chief executive Jim Haden said the company has made “significant commercialisation progress over the past year”, having vertically integrated its manufacturing supply chain and secured its largest every contract.

He said the new funding “supports scaling our operations as we grow project revenues, enabling us to invest in additional equipment and capabilities to accelerate laser production and delivery to meet customer demand”.

The company is also “strategically investing in the development of novel, next-generation products”, Mr Halden said, including through a recent US$1.775 million contract for the development of DFB lasers.

The contract forms part of the Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors (CLAWS) Hub, an innovation hub set up by the United States Department of Defense to produce wide bandgap semiconductors.

The CLAWS Hub, one of eight Microelectic Commons regional innovations hubs, has been funded with US$39.4 million through the US government’s CHIPS and Science Act, which includes US$39 billion in incentives for the domestic semiconductor industry.

On Saturday, the US government revealed plans to invest more than $11 billion in semiconductor-related research and development, including more than $5 billion for a National Semiconductor Technology Center.

The Biden Administration is also reportedly preparing to award billions of dollars in subsidies to Intel, TSMC and other semiconductor companies in the coming weeks to build new factories in the US.

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