Global semiconductor developer BluGlass Limited has inked a contract worth USD 1.775 million (AUD 2.6 million) with North Carolina State University (NCSU) as part of the Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors (CLAWS) Hub.
This collaboration signifies a significant leap forward in the development of cutting-edge photonic and optoelectronic devices, the ASX-listed company announced.
The contract, effective for the Fiscal Year 2024, supports the Microelectronics Commons program, a collaborative initiative for defence and dual-use technologies with a substantial USD 2 billion in funding from the CHIPS and Science Act.
NCSU leads the CLAWS Hub, one of eight innovation hubs under the Microelectronics Commons program, having been awarded a formidable USD 39.4 million for the base year of performance.
BluGlass, among seven prestigious members of the CLAWS Hub, including Coherent, Wolfspeed, General Electric, Adroit Materials, Kyma, and North Carolina A&T State University, will be focusing on the development of single frequency DFB lasers, along with advancing violet (405nm, 420nm) and blue (450nm) single-mode lasers.
BluGlass aims to secure additional core development contracts over the CLAWS program, expanding its collaborative role to potentially include the development of ultra-violet through to green single-mode lasers, single frequency DFB lasers, and Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs).
As part of its participation in the CLAWS Hub, BluGlass is also eligible to engage in high-priority projects, focusing on expanded Gallium Nitride (GaN) wavelengths, epitaxy and process development, and high-value devices for quantum applications.
Jim Haden, CEO of BluGlass, expressed excitement about the collaboration, stating, ““We are thrilled to have secured our first contract as part of the CLAWS Hub, where we will be collaborating with recognised industry leaders to develop and commercialise next-generation wide-bandgap photonic and optoelectronic devices.”
He further highlighted the potential impact on key sectors such as materials processing, sensing, quantum applications, and defence capabilities.
The collaboration positions BluGlass as an approved US commercial manufacturing supplier of GaN laser epitaxy, fabrication, packaging, and testing. Haden envisions the partnership with NCSU and Microelectronics Commons as a game-changing alliance over the next five years.
Director of the CLAWS Hub, Professor of ECE John Muth, emphasised the significance of the partnership, stating, “BluGlass is an important part of our roadmap to manipulate UV and visible spectrum light on a chip as a photonic integrated circuit.”
He concluded, “We see the ability to deliver high quality, reliable single frequency DFB lasers as well as blue and violet lasers to the DoD and the research community as important first steps toward a wide variety of commercial applications.”