IQE nanoimprint lithography technology tapped for DFB laser production

NanoImprint Lithography (NIL) technology has been production qualified by a leading supplier of DFB lasers.

IQE (Cardiff, England) announced that its proprietary NanoImprint Lithography (NIL) technology has been production qualified by a leading supplier of distributed feedback (DFB) lasers into the telecoms industry, and the first production order for $250,000 dollars has been received. Production will commence immediately.

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DFB lasers are high-performance edge-emitting (EE) lasers that are critical enabling transmission components for high-speed data communications across the whole fiber-optic network; including intercontinental communications, broadband fiber to the home (FTTH) and premises, and ultrahigh-speed transmission links in hyper-scale datacenter applications. Exponential future demand for DFBs in this sector will be driven by 5G connectivity and the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition, the high optical quality of the DFB device makes it the edge-emitting laser of choice for the commoditization in the consumer sector for a wide range of emerging sensing applications such as 3D sensing, environmental emissions and air quality monitoring, chemical weapons and explosives detection, and disease diagnosis via breath and blood vessel monitoring.

NIL enables large scale and low-cost manufacture of submicron features in a variety of materials, including compound semiconductors, silicon, glass, oxides, and flexible materials such as polymers. IQE's proprietary technology is capable of achieving the complex patterns typically produced using expensive and slow throughput e-beam lithography, but at a much lower cost and much higher throughput. Applications include a multitude of photonics products, including gratings for DFB lasers, micro and patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) LEDs, diffractive optical elements (DOEs), and quasiphotonic crystals.

With respect to the current application, IQE has qualified with a leading supplier of DFB lasers into the telecom and datacenter marketplace with higher performance in side-mode suppression ratio (SMSR), a key performance measure of DFB lasers, better pitch and duty cycle uniformity, and narrower lasing wavelength within the wafer for the customer as compared to conventional interference holography; furthermore, NIL is ideally suited for mass manufacture of wafers at 100 mm, 150 mm, 200 mm sizes, and can even be scaled to 300 mm.

Rodney Pelzel, VP Global Technology for IQE, said, "Coupled with a wide range of new and exciting technologies such as crystalline Rare Earth Oxides (cREO [trade mark]) and Quasi-Photonic Crystals, which are also manufactured using the NanoImprint Lithography technology, IQE's IP portfolio is gaining significant traction, allowing the Company to offer new, disruptive technologies to the broad semiconductor marketplace."


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