CST Global Leads UK Diode Laser Manufacturing Project

photonics | Posted: 23 Aug 2017, 11:03

A U.K. government-funded project led by CST Global Ltd. aims to produce high-speed distributed feedback lasers with significantly larger broadband line rates than currently available with a new manufacturing process aimed at reducing laser costs by a third. 
 
The project, “Diode Laser Manufacturing Process Using Nano-Imprint Lithography” (DILAN), seeks to implement a commercially viable, nano-imprint lithography production process that would deliver increased data rates of 25 Gbps and 30 percent cost savings. The project grant, distributed by Innovate UK, is worth £821 million ($1.1 billion), with CST Global receiving £268 million ($345 million). 
 
“The massive growth in broadband communications for the fiber to the premises market has two key driving factors,” said Andrew McKee, director of engineering at CST Global. “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 technology, at around 1.25 to 2.5 Gb/s, is not enough to satisfy the ever-increasing bandwidth demands of next-generation networks.” 
 
The project features the academic partners of Cardiff University and the University College of Swansea and West Wales, with additional commercial partner Compound Semiconductor Centre Ltd. 
 
“Nano-imprint lithography is widely recognized as the most credible method of producing high-throughput, high-resolution, single-mode semiconductor lasers at low cost,” McKee said. “The lasers also operate in the 1310- to 1550-nm wavelength spectrum, which is known to support the increased line rates necessary for next-generation networks.” 
 
Innovate UK is a government research funding agency for engineering and the physical sciences. CST Global is a developer of chips, components, modules and subsystems based on semiconductor technology.

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