III-V optoelectronic foundry Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd (CST Global, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Sivers IMA Holding AB) of Hamilton International Technology Park, Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, UK says that it is leading the government-funded project, which aims to produce high-speed distributed feedback (DFB) lasers with significantly larger broadband line rates than currently available, while using a new manufacturing process aimed at cutting laser costs by a third.
CST Global is the project leader, with support from academic partners Cardiff University and the University College of Swansea & West Wales with additional commercial partner Compound Semiconductor Centre Limited, Cardiff.
Running from February 2017 to January 2019, the DiLaN project grant is valued at £821,319.00, with CST Global receiving £268,094.00. The funding organization is Innovate UK, a UK government research funding agency for engineering and the physical sciences.
“The massive growth in broadband communications for the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) market has two key driving factors,” notes director of engineering Andrew McKee. “The first is a rapid increase in demand for single-mode semiconductor laser solutions, currently exceeding 100 million new units per year. The second is that the data rate capability of lasers using current passive optical networking (PON) technology, at around 1.25-2.5Gb/s, is not enough to satisfy the ever-increasing bandwidth demands of next-generation networks,” he adds.
The DiLaN project is seeking to implement a commercially viable nano-imprint lithography production process for high-volume DFB lasers. This would deliver the increased data rates of 25Gbps and the required cost saving, estimated at up to 30% per laser.
“Nano-imprint lithography is widely recognized as the most credible method of producing at low cost,” McKee continues. “The lasers also operate in the 1310–1550nm wavelength spectrum, which is known to support the increased line rates necessary for next-generation networks.”