III-V optoelectronic foundry Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd (CST Global) of Hamilton International Technology Park, Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, UK (a subsidiary of Sweden’s Sivers IMA Holdings AB) is to lead the UK government-funded project ‘Quantum Cooling using Mode Controlled Blue Lasers’ (CoolBlue2).
The project will be led by research engineer Dr Thomas Slight, with support from commercial partner Helia Photonics Ltd, research partner National Physical Laboratory Ltd (NPL) and academic partners the University of Glasgow and Aston University.
Running from April 2018 to March 2019, the CoolBlue2 project cost will total £499,076, including government funding of £410,209, of which CST Global will receive £83,774.
“CoolBlue2 is a continuation of our work in developing next-generation GaN [gallium nitride] laser technology, for implementation in quantum sensors based on ultracold atoms,” says Slight. “The direct blue laser diode source we developed in the original CoolBlue project [which started in April 2017] offered increased power, lower complexity and smaller size over conventional laser sources. This showed it was possible to transform quantum sensors from ‘laboratory instruments’ into miniaturized, robust systems,” he adds.
“CoolBlue2 investigates the feasibility of developing a fully monolithic, narrow-linewidth GaN DFB [distributed feedback] laser,” Slight continues. “They will operate in the 4XXnm region and will be used as a source in laser-cooled quantum sensing systems, such as quantum clocks, gravimeters and magnetometers. Other applications include atomic spectroscopy, subsea communications and medical instrumentation.”
“The funding allows for two iterations of chip design and manufacture, with the aim of producing a laser suitable for evaluation in a real-world, low-cost, integrated system,” Slight concludes.