Production Qualification Milestone for IQE’s proprietary NanoImprint Lithography (NIL) Technology for DFB lasers
09 July 2018
Cardiff, UK, 09 July 2018. IQE (AIM:IQE) announces that its proprietary NanoImprint Lithography (“NIL”) technology has reached a significant milestone. The new technology offering has been production qualified by a leading supplier of Distributed Feedback (“DFB”) lasers into the telecoms industry, and the first production order for USD 250,000 has been received. Production will commence immediately.
DFB lasers are high performance edge emitting (EE) lasers that are critical enabling transmission components for high-speed data communications across the whole fibre optic network; including intercontinental communications, broadband Fibre To The Home and Premises, and ultra-high speed transmission links in hyper-scale data centre 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 commoditisation 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.
In addition to DFB applications, IQE are also currently engaged in multiple other qualification programmes incorporating the Nanoimprint Lithography technology across a range of wafer sizes and end applications.
NanoImprint Lithography is a powerful technology for the 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 (DOE), and QuasiPhotonic Crystals. Using NIL technology, cost effective, high volume fabrication of complex Photonic and Quasi-Photonic Crystals (QPC) can be realised thereby unlocking unique and powerful photonic performance at a wafer level.
With respect to the current application, IQE has qualified with a leading supplier of DFB lasers into the telecom and datacentre marketplace. This supplier has found that using IQE’s proprietary NanoImprint Lithography gratings provides greater precision and dimensional control (which have resulted in 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. All other performance characteristics were similar or better than the conventional holographic production.
NanoImprint Lithography is ideally suited for mass manufacture of wafers at 100mm, 150mm, 200mm sizes, and can even be scaled to 300mm.
Dr Rodney Pelzel, VP Global Technology for IQE commented:
“This production qualification marks a significant milestone in the introduction of IQE’s proprietary NanoImprint Lithography technology into the mainstream telecoms industry.
“Coupled with a wide range of new and exciting technologies such as crystalline Rare Earth Oxides (cREO™) 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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