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UKINNOVATION UK115 Light years ahead A look at Laser Materials Processing and its role within the Photonics and Plastic Electronics KTN. By Dr Mike Green, Executive Secretary, AILU Laser Materials Processing ( LMP) is a key technology underlying many of the interests and activities within the scope of the Photonics and Plastic Electronics KTN. Industrial lasers are well established as a non- contact, high- quality, highly flexible manufacturing tool, and within this context, recent developments in industrial laser sources, including high- brightness fibre lasers and ultra- short pulse, high- repetition- rate lasers, are transforming the LMP landscape and opening up new techniques and applications. This is particularly relevant both to the health of the UK manufacturing industry and to the challenges of the 21st century, from the ever- increasing miniaturisation of com-ponents, such as those used in the electronics ( micro-electro- mechanical systems) and medical ( implants) industry, to the improved efficiency of transportation ( eg the use of composites for weight ( and fuel) reduction, improved fuel injection and engine wear characteristics). As revealed in a survey of UK research activity in LMP, undertaken by the Photonics KTN in late 2008 ( the first survey of its kind in the UK), the academic and industry research community has the skills and infrastructure to exploit the many new LMP opportunities. Nearly 100 academic and 27 industrial research groups were identi-fied as being active in LMP with 16 and 18, respectively, ranked as top level. Almost all now belong to the " Prod-uct and Process Innovation" Special Interest Group set up within the Photonics KTN for the LMP research com-munity. In July 2009 the UK's first two- day Industrial Laser Applications Symposium ( ILAS) - supported by the Photonics KTN and the Materials KTN - attracted over 100 delegates. The challenge for LMP in the UK is historically the under-investment in UK manufacturing industry. This is borne out by a recent assessment undertaken for the Photonics KTN by the Association of Laser Users ( AILU), which benchmarked the UK against Germany ( the world leader in the use of lasers in manufacturing) and concluded that the use of lasers in Germany per unit of manufactured output is around five times higher than in the UK. Through workshops ( including the recent ILAS sympo-sium), Special Interest Groups and the Design for Laser Manufacture website ( www. designforlasermanufacture. com), the PPE KTN is working to spread the message and encourage networking between the LMP research community and manufacturing industry. Photonics Photonics & plastic electronics ktn

116INNOVATION UK Innovation utilising III- V semiconductor technology in photonics COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTOR TECHNOLOGIES ( CST) , founded in 1999, private equity- backed since 2002, has built its success on providing bespoke solu-tions for its customers in the form of devices to emit, guide and detect " light" in wavelengths from 600nm up to 3,600nm. The fact that CST provides a development to production process across such a wide range of materials is an inno-vation in itself, seldom matched by other providers of such products. It relies on a novel business relationship that has enabled the creation of " fab- less" design and product companies into markets where previously only vertically integrated " system" providers could play. CST translates the customer- specific design- level criteria into III- V structures to provide custom solutions to market need. These structures form the basis of device librar-ies which in turn facilitate quicker turn around for new product introduction at a reduced cost with lower risk. CST processes 2", 3" and 4" wafers into bars we then apply customised coating allowing delivery of tested and, if required, chips mounted onto substrates. CST has a worldwide customer base and is at the fore-front of new and emerging markets as well as enabling innovative new products for established markets. CST has forged a reputation for delivering leading- edge solu-tions in a number of key global market sectors. Comunications CST has recently won a number of development grants in line with its success in the communications market, and in collaboration with its partners for the next-generation broadband access as sponsored by the UK Technology Strategy Board. Lasers enabling high- performance, low- cost, optical home access; Reflective Semiconductor Amplifiers for FTTX . Defence High Power QC Lasers for IR coun-termeasures; Devel-opment of HP cells for foundry application and use. Explosive detection platforms with QC Lasers. Industrial/ Environment QC Lasers for CO 2 Monitoring in Carbon Abatement applications; Single- chip Integration for manufacturing control systems; Quantum Cascade Lasers for Oil explo-ration. CPV Solar Cell development. This broad array of applications, built on III- V device-oriented platforms, requires close collaboration with many leading companies, research and academic institu-tions as well as other niche- market small- scale compa-nies. CST both manages and partners in these collabo-rations and has great experience in delivering tangible outcomes and protection of intellectual property. CST welcomes innovative partners who may wish to explore and develop the potential for new or improved products through the development and implementation of III- V based photonic devices. It has an extensive library of processes with manufacturing and reliability data and a eight- year history of getting results. Contact us at www. compoundsemi. co. uk for more details and information on any of the above. ABOVE: Coated AR/ HR and ULAR bars Photonics