Lasers are aluminium free

AlfaLight, an early stage high power diode laser company has closed on $6.1 million of first round venture funding. The primary investor group consists of three Midwestern firms and was lead by Arch Venture Partners in Chicago. This funding will enable them to commercialise aluminium free laser modules with significantly higher powers and lower cost per Watt than is available today.

AlfaLight is developing several high power pump laser products targeting applications in the telecommunications markets. Many of its technologies were developed at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The proceeds of this funding will be used to install a pilot facility near their headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The company is also using the Reed Center for Photonics at the University of Wisconsin for product development.

Alfalight’s products are based on intellectual property that they have exclusively licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). They are initially targeting fiber amplifier applications that benefit from their high power single-mode 980 nm technology, and the metro amplifier market with their 980 nm DFB technology.

In current Al-based technology, the aluminium content in a laser’s active region determines its wavelength; lasers that achieve shorter wavelengths require more aluminium. However, because aluminium-containing compounds in the active region are highly reactive, impurities such as oxygen can deteriorate the laser’s reliability. Eliminating aluminium from the laser’s active region improves its reliability, and removing it from the semiconductor layers around the active region makes it easy to fabricate complex high-performance diode lasers.