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BluGlass set to hire as government grant kicks in

A multi-million-dollar grant from the Australian government should help BluGlass move towards commercializing its GaN-on-glass LED technology.

The Australian government has agreed to fund the LED technology start-up BluGlass with AUS$5 million ($4.3 million), provided that the Australian company matched that grant with its own cash injection.

AUS$5 million represents the maximum amount of funding awarded by Australia under its "Commercial Ready" development program, which is designed to support research projects as they move towards commercialization.

BluGlass, which has demonstrated electroluminescence from both p-n junctions and InGaN/GaN double heterostructures grown on a glass substrate, will use the cash to fund future research, as well as optimizing its reactor.

The Macquarie University spin-off is currently collaborating with Irish epitaxy equipment firm EMF on the design of a new type of reactor in which to grow the novel light emitters.

Because they can be grown on relatively cheap, large-area glass material, BluGlass s approach has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of making GaN LEDs.

However, the company is at an early stage and is yet to disclose in any great detail the performance of the devices it has produced.

Early-stage structures feature buffer layers sandwiched between the glass substrate and the GaN emitter layers. These buffers are based on ZnO, and are the result of a development collaboration with the global materials giant Saint-Gobain.

"We have also demonstrated excellent thickness uniformity (less than 5 percent variation over a 6 inch diameter) on glass, and p-n junctions have been produced over the same diameter substrate," the company told compoundsemiconductor.net.

The latest grant is dependent on BluGlass hitting some key development milestones in its bid to bring the disruptive technology to market. These include developing and commissioning a commercial reactor, building its pilot plant, developing a supply of suitable substrates, and finding a partner to manufacture and package devices.

Currently employing 15 full-time staff, BluGlass has plans to hire more personnel for crystal growth operations, research and development and general administration over the coming year.

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