Scottish photonics consortium awarded grant for novel optics

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A Scottish photonics consortium consisting of PowerPhotonic, Optoscribe, Optocap and Fraunhofer UK Research, has been awarded a grant of £900,000 by Innovate UK to develop novel optics for miniaturised RGB laser sources that will have use in next-generation applications such as augmented reality, displays, communication systems and medical applications.

The funding will be used to develop and demonstrate an innovative integrated photonic package for RGB laser sources with a reduction in component size versus the current state-of-the-art.

The consortium includes project lead, Optocap, an optical component integration and packaging company; PowerPhotonic, an SME specialising in optical surface formation using wafer-scale laser micromachining; and Optoscribe, a company using ultrafast lasers to form structures and waveguides in glass. The fourth partner, research and technology organisation Fraunhofer UK Research, will develop the waveguide writing process and build the project demonstrator.

‘We are delighted that Innovate UK has awarded this grant to the Miniaturised RGB laser source project,’ remarked Garrie Vickers, Hi-Rel & Space Applications Programme manager at Optocap. ‘This is an exciting opportunity to build on our experience in developing miniaturised compact RGB sources for use in next-generation applications...Optocap looks forward to working with the consortium to develop this exciting technology.’

‘[The consortium] is another that demonstrates the depth of the photonics industry in Scotland,’ said Dr Henry Bookey, theme leader at Fraunhofer CAP. ‘The project is a great fit for Fraunhofer CAP – a demonstration of an enabling photonic technology and covers a range of activities from laser manufacturing to device demonstration.’

Once the novel optics have successfully been developed, the consortium will be well-placed to take the technology towards commercial exploitation, commented Dr Matthew Currie, applications engineering managing at PowerPhotonic.

A panel of experts at Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, awarded the grant, judging the consortium’s application as a compelling business case for miniaturised RGB sources, a concept that is technically novel and has genuine potential to advance the state-of-the-art and contribute to the UK's position as a world leader in this technology.

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