Seren Photonics has successfully completed the first tranche of a £1m investment round with funding from existing and new investors.
The funding round included £250k from the Development Bank of Wales along with matching investment from private investors. The funds will be used to continue the manufacturing scale-up of its template technology along with the further development of green LED epitaxy structures. The evolution of product offering towards semipolar green LED epitaxy is driven by increasing demand for improved efficiency wavelength stable green LEDs for microLED display applications, where each pixel is represented by an individual red, green or blue microLED. Whereas individual red and blue LED efficiencies are already in the 60%-70% range, green LEDs still remain at <20% wall plug efficiency.
Poor efficiency results in increased power consumption and sometimes the need for additional green LED pixels which also acts to reduce overall screen resolution as well as increase cost. The overall market for next generation displays using microLEDs is vast, with an estimated value of between $30B and $40B should micro-LEDs become the display technology of choice. Applications include large, high-resolution indoor displays, 4k and 8k TVs, AR/VR headsets, automotive HUDs, smartphones and wearables.
Commenting on the investment, Dr. Bedwyr Humphreys, Seren’s Chief Development Officer explained: “Seren’s semipolar and nonpolar technology make InGaN/GaN based LEDs significantly more wavelength stable over a wide range of operating conditions, enable an order of magnitude higher switching speeds and also deliver the potential for improved efficiency through superior electron-hole recombination rates”.
He further added: “This is a truly versatile technology, having the potential for reducing droop in high brightness blue LEDs, enhancing the performance of longer wavelength GaN LEDs and enabling high speed LED-based communication systems such as visible light communication (VLC) as well as short range plastic optical fiber (POF) communication.” Commenting on the recent funding round Steve Smith, Technology Ventures Director at the Development Bank of Wales said: “Seren Photonics continues to make excellent progress and we’re delighted to continue our support for this innovative technology and to help create a sustainable compound semiconductor ecosystem in Wales.
“The high level of interest for this technology in next-generation displays and high speed communication endorses the importance of semi-polar GaN in enabling leading edge LED performance”. Dr Godfrey Ainsworth, Seren’s Chairman said: “We are greatly encouraged by the continued support of our investors as well as the confidence placed in us by our new investors. They have seen that Seren is creating an exceptional opportunity in a global and rapidly growing market”.
Seren Photonics and BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG an Australian technology developer, commercialising breakthrough semiconductor manufacturing processes and equipment) announce the completion of phase 1 of the transfer of Seren’s semipolar GaN template process to the BluGlass MOCVD epitaxial services. The news was also announced on the Australian Stock Exchange
A collaboration between the two companies has been underway since late 2016 with the objective of transferring the manufacturing process from laboratory scale equipment onto a production MOCVD platform. Phase 2 will refine the manufacturing process, improving uniformity and yield, whilst parallel development will further reduce defect density.
Semipolar gallium nitride (GaN) is an alternative crystal plane that overcomes many problems associated with the green gap (inability to make an efficient green LED) and also LED efficiency droop (where LEDs become progressively less efficient at high powers). Previously, semipolar GaN was only available in small pieces, cut from a bulk GaN crystal. However, the Seren technology creates high quality semipolar GaN on industry standard 2", 4" and 6" sapphire wafers, enabling commercially viable semipolar devices.
Commenting on the progress, Dr. Bedwyr Humphreys, Seren’s Chief Development Officer said, “It’s great to see a process that was developed in a university lab successfully scale up on to a production relevant platform. The focus now is on moving product development to the next stage; refining the process. We designed the process from the outset with production in mind, so it’s really exciting to see this basic process demonstrated on a 19 x 2” MOCVD reactor, where we can sample in much larger quantities than before”.
The lack of an efficient green LED has limited the market size for many applications requiring RGB LEDs, e.g. colour controlled lamps in general lighting. As well as reducing barriers for existing applications, an increasingly efficient green LED technology is also an enabler for new technologies such as the rapidly emerging RGB microLED space - expected to be used in next generation display technology due of its low power consumption and vivid colour. Both Apple and Facebook are known to have acquired microLED start-ups during the last 3 years.
BluGlass Managing Director, Giles Bourne added, “It’s great to see another BluGlass foundry customer achieve a successful technology demonstration, with the completion of Phase I. We look forward to continuing to assist Seren Photonics deliver the successful completion of the next phase of development”. He added “BluGlass selects its customers based on the potential benefits to the nitrides industry, as we seek to work with the next generation of technology developers”.
Commenting on the transfer, Seren Photonic’s Chairman Dr Godfrey Ainsworth added, “We’ve always had a vision that Seren’s technology can help transform the LED industry, especially for green LEDs. The successful first phase transfer is another major milestone in our development as a supplier of semipolar GaN products.”
Bedwyr Humphreys presentation to the 7th CS International conference in Brussels on the topic of semipolar GaN technology and how it can be used to make efficient green and yellow LEDs was very well received and generated significant interest in Seren Photonics' products during the show.
For the first time in its seven-year history, CS International co-located with PIC International and the inaugural IoT International. This gave well over 500 delegates the opportunity to pick and choose from nearly a hundred talks spread over three events.
During breaks over the two days, delegates weere able to interact with 50 exhibitors, including Seren Photonics.
CSI is a ‘must attend’ event within the CS sector and presentations give an insight into the current status and the evolution of the compound semiconductor industry.
Bedwyr Humphreys commented, "We were excited to have the opportunity to present at CS International, the leading conference on compound semiconductor markets and technologies and received a good level of enquiries".
Seren Photonics have been selected to pitch at the RSC UKBAA investor event on 11 April 2017.
The event has been developed by The Royal Society of Chemistry partnered with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) to connect chemistry-using start-ups and scale-ups with potential investors.
Chemistry-led innovation represents a broad and compelling opportunity area for early-stage investors as it is integral to a vast number of sectors, including life sciences, energy supply and generation, the automotive industry, construction, and consumer products. The Royal Society of Chemistry currently supports over 300 small businesses across the UK by providing networking opportunities, grants and funding support, and help with recruitment and business promotion.
The new partnership with UKBAA, the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, will now enable cutting edge start-ups from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s community to connect with an established group of experienced investors.
Seren’s Chief Development officer Dr Bedwyr Humphreys, is to speak at this years CS International on the subject of eliminating "the green gap" in the production of efficient green LEDs.
The green gap - a problem that has long plagued LED manufacturers - is predominantly caused by excessive droop, a phenomenon in the blue LED industry. The use of Semi-polar GaN already demonstrated droop reduction in blue LEDs, along with additional benefits which combine to provide a route to overcoming the gap problem once and for all.
Dr Humphreys is one of 30 specialist speakers who will present across 5 themes to provide a complete spectrum of the current state of the compound semiconductor industry.
CS International will be held on 7-8 March 2017 at the Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel, Belgium
At CS International 2016, Dr Bedwyr Humphreys presented a summary of Seren Photonic’s performance enhancing semi polar Gallium Nitride templates to a packed conference hall.
Dr Humphreys presentation discussed the benefits to the automotive industry of performance and styling advantages of LEDs over conventional lamp illumination. Since new regulations governing the need for daytime running lamps (DRLs) on all new European vehicles from 2011 there has been increased motivation and impetus to introduce high power white LEDs in vehicle front lighting applications. The shift to full LED based headlamps either first generation (replacement) or second generation (adaptive matrix) is inevitable, with Seren Photonic’s technology offering special advantages in super high power automotive LED headlights.
The Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy and Climate Change), recently spoke to Dr Carl Griffiths and Bedwyr Humphreys regarding Seren Photonic’s focus on the development of polar, semi polar and non-polar Gallium Nitride (GaN) templates. Of particular interest are the implications for enhancing performance and efficiency of a wide range of semiconductor devices from LEDS to lasers was of particular interest.
Following on from Bedwyr Humphreys exciting presentation to 355 delegates and investors at Cleantech Innovate 2016 - The team at Seren are now looking forward to presenting at CS International under the key theme of 'Exploiting Opportunities for LEDs and Lasers' - which is one of 5 total themes underpinning the event that collectively will provide complete coverage of the compound semiconductor industry.
Full agenda for the event and details of how to register:
Exciting month ahead for the team at Seren Photonics - Thursday (11 Feb) this week sees Seren at Cleantech Innovate 2016 in London - a showcase of industry celebrating the very best low carbon, green technological innovation from the UK ROI and Switzerland.
36 companies - including Seren - present their technology live. The 4 presenting categories are; Renewables, Energy Management, Cross Sector innovation (which includes transport, agriculture & green buildings) and Resource Efficiency.
What makes Cleantech Innovate particularly exciting for the companies involved is the audience profile, which includes:
We then have CS (Compound Semiconductor) International Conference to prepare for, which will build on the success of its predecessors, with industry-leading insiders delivering more than 30 presentations spanning five sectors:
The organisers of CS International have now finalised the programme for the 2016 conference, which will take place in Brussels on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 March.
“Delegates attending CS International are guaranteed comprehensive, timely coverage of the most important issues facing our industry. The 2016 conference will build on the great and growing success of its five predecessors, with a tremendous line-up of speakers, organised into five sessions.” says Richard Stevenson, Editor of Compound Semiconductor magazine.
For more information about Cleantech Innovate visit:
More information about this years CS International here:
The latest papers from Seren Photonics' Professor Tao Wang are featured in two leading LED Industry publications:
Semi-polar gallium nitride on sapphire long-wavelength light-emitting diodes
Seren Photonics have been selected as one of just 36 low carbon innovators to present their ideas at Cleantech Innovate on Thursday 11 February 2016 at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London.
Event organiser ecoConnect CIC, the UK’s green industry business network, invited Seren Photonics with other low carbon technology companies from renewable, energy storage, biofuels, manufacturing, transport and water treatment sectors to present to a discerning audience of; investors seeking new investment opportunities in the cleantech sector; corporate buyers looking for green solutions and partnerships; dealmakers from law and accountancy firms; and journalists covering the sector and its trends.
Cleantech Innovate 2016 features the very best of commercial low carbon innovation from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and - for first time - Switzerland, thanks to headline partner, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.
Robert Hokin, Co-Founder of ecoConnect CIC, said: “Cleantech is a dynamic and growing sector, worth over £120 billion to the UK alone and an area of the economy expected to maintain positive growth rates for the future. It is also a key employment area. We are proud to enable the sector’s best innovators to present directly to an audience of investors, buyers, industry specialists and support agencies.” Cleantech Innovate London takes place on Thursday, 11 February 2016 from 8.45 am to 8 pm (including an evening reception) at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS.
Programme partners for Cleantech Innovate London 2016 are the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Innovate UK, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Autodesk, Carbon Limiting Technologies (CLT), Inneon, Marks&Clerk Intellectual Property Services, Penningtons Manches, Smith & Williamson, The National Physical Laboratory, The Energy Saving Trust, Triteq.
Delegates can register on http://www.cleantechinnovate.com
Seren Photonics fundraising success features in News Bulletins sent out by Bridgend County Borough Council Business Team:
Wales Online report Seren Photonics in £1m funding boost as Seren moves closer to full scale commercial production.
Read the report here:- http://www.walesonline.co.uk
Ian has over 30 years' experience of growing leading edge technology businesses in the USA and Europe, with specific knowledge of semiconductor technologies. He is currently a board director of publicly listed Optimal Payments, Birdstep Technology and Transmode AB, and venture backed companies Econic Technologies, Nexeon and Smartkem. Earlier in his career, he was President - Lasers and Fibre Optics - at JDS Uniphase, Executive Chairman of Evo Electric, Chairman of Quantasol and Partner in Crescendo Ventures. Ian has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Bristol. Ian is the Finance Wales appointed Board representative.
Nick worked for 12 years as an industrial engineer (Rolls Royce, BP, ERA Technology and QinetiQ) before becoming an investment banker in 1997. During his time in the City he specialised in financing fast-growing technology companies. He left in 2005 to work as a consultant advising government and corporate entities on the commercialisation of technology and also acted as an interim manager at various technology start-up companies. Nick now works full time as the CFO of Spinetic Energy Ltd. He has an MA in Physics (Cambridge) and a PhD in Materials Engineering (Imperial College) and is both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist. Nick is the IP Group appointed Board representative.
Dr Godfrey Ainsworth, Seren's Chairman said, "Ian and Nick's appointments are timely and make a valuable addition to our Board at a time of transition into pre-production scale manufacturing".
Commenting on the two appointments, Dr Carl Griffiths CEO said "I'm thrilled to have appointed both Nick and Ian. Their experience and expertise speaks for itself and they are both eager to make a significant contribution as we grow and expand the business. "
Seren Photonics, the developer of state-of-the-art semi-polar Gallium Nitride templates, recently attended and exhibited at ICNS-11 (International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors) in Beijing. With plenary invited talks from Nobel prize winners Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, the conference was attended by almost a thousand delegates. The clear message from both these pioneers of Gallium Nitride technology was the huge opportunity and potential for semi-polar GaN in overcoming LED droop, enabling high brightness green and yellow LEDs as well as being pivotal to many emerging IoT (Internet of Things) applications.
Seren's founder, Professor Tao Wang from University of Sheffield, presented an invited talk on high efficiency green/yellow LEDs grown on Seren's semi-polar templates. His results demonstrated the superior performance that semi-polar GaN can provide. Other related presentations also described how semi-polar GaN LEDs are ideally placed for use in fast developing "Li-Fi" applications (where LED light bulbs are used to transmit localised high speed broadband signals) offering a 10X advantage over today's LEDs.
Following the event, several new customers have contacted Seren to enquire about semi-polar GaN. After such glowing recommendations from Nobel Laureates, semi-polar GaN is well on its way to mainstream success.
At the RSC Emerging Technologies Competition 2015, held in London on 29 June, Seren Photonics was awarded 3rd place for its innovation in semi-polar GaN templates for next generation LEDs.
Seren was one of thirty finalists from across Europe at the event, where presenters went head-to-head to pitch their ideas for the latest healthcare, energy and sustainability, and materials technologies to panels of industry experts. The competition, in its third year, included small companies and academic entrepreneurs from nine countries outside the UK for the first time, including Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Seren's technology and business strategy, presented by CDO Dr Bedwyr Humphreys, emphasised the significant benefits of semi-polar GaN in enhancing the performance of today's LEDs, enabling accelerated adoption in automotive and general lighting applications.Commenting on the award, Dr Humphreys said, "We've worked hard to identify our key markets, articulate our USPs and develop a compelling value proposition for our customers. Receiving this second award so close after winning an award at the European Venture Capital Forum in Rome, really emphasises the impact this technology could have on the LED industry". Founded in 2009 by venture capital firm FusionIP plc (now part of IPGroup plc), Seren Photonics Ltd is a spin-out from the University of Sheffield. It has commercialised technology developed by Prof. Tao Wang of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department and uses nano engineered structures to enhance the properties of III-Nitride materials. The Emerging Technologies Competition is an annual innovation competition organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Now in its third year, the Competition aims to accelerate the commercialisation of the best and most impactful ideas in healthcare, energy and sustainability, and materials. The Competition is backed by multinational partner companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Croda, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Schlumberger and Lubrizol.
Semiconductor Today has reported on Seren Photonics recent award for Best Business at the European Photonics Venture Forum:
"Seren Photonics Ltd of Pencoed Technology Park, UK, which was spun off from the University of Sheffield in 2009 with funding from venture capital firm FusionIP plc (now part of IPGroup plc), was one of six firms to win an award for best business and investment opportunity at the 1st European Photonics Venture Forum (EPVF) held in Rome, Italy on 16 April."
Full report here: Semiconductor Today
Seren Photonics was one of six companies to win an award for best business and investment opportunity at the European Photonics Venture Forum (EPVF) recently held in Rome.
The event, organised by the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), was conceived to enable high potential European technology companies to gain access to over 30 venture finance companies and to present to a panel of investment experts.
Seren's business plan, presented by CEO Dr Carl Griffiths, highlighted the exciting potential of semi-polar GaN in LEDs and other photonic applications and to the significant growth potential for the company as interconnected light emitting devices become ever more embedded in every day products.
Dr Griffiths, commenting on the award said, "Receiving this award is an acknowledgment of the growth potential and compelling value proposition offered by Seren's semi-polar GaN products. As we now begin the process of ramping up to larger volumes and larger wafer sizes, it's always pleasing to receive positive validation of our business plan."
Founded in 2009 by venture capital firm FusionIP plc (now part of IPGroup plc), Seren Photonics Ltd is a spin-out from the University of Sheffield. It has commercialised technology developed by Prof Tao Wang of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department and uses nano engineered structures to enhance the properties of III-Nitride materials.
Seren Photonics took part in the recent CSInternational Conference in Germany where they met up with more than 300 delegates who had come to gain insight into the potential of the compound semiconductor industry in areas such as lighting, GaAs microelectronics and mainstream microprocessors.
Delegates were told that by 2018 more than half of all revenue from bulbs are expected to come from the sales of lamps incorporating solid-state sources.
Another prediction was that the UV LED market will increase from $90 million in 2014 to $500 million in 2019.
An estimate of the GaAs microelectronics sector suggests that in 2014 sales will hit $6.6 billion, which might be revised upwards to reach $7 billion. The launch of CMOS PAs is yet to deliver a significant dent to GaAs sales, but this type of device may have a 20 percent share of the market by 2018.
In contrast, in the microprocessor sector, silicon is under threat from III-Vs, where InGaAs is viewed as a promising replacement for silicon in the channels of transistors. Despite difficult conditions surrounding defence spending, sales of GaAs and GaN RF chips will increase substantially over the next few years; increased deployment of solar technologies in the regions of the world where sunlight is most intense will underpin the growth of the CPV market; and sales of wide bandgap devices are predicted to take off in this decade.
Full report here www.cs-international.net/csinternational2015
Seren Photonics Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of its next generation of semi-polar GaN on sapphire templates.
This latest generation of 11-22 GaN templates continues to be based on Seren's patented approach developed by Professor Tao Wang's team at the University of Sheffield.
The improved performance comes about through a manufacturing upgrade that not only improves crystal quality, but also enhances manufacturing yield.
This approach has already completed qualification for 2" diameter product and as part of its development activity, Seren has now adapted the enhanced approach to the development of 4" and 6" templates. "With demand for 4" and 6" accounting for over 75% of the sapphire market for LEDs, the need to provide customers with industry standard 4" diameter wafers along with the option to upgrade to 6" makes total commercial sense" said Bedwyr Humphreys Chief Development Officer at Seren Photonics. 4" templates for customer sampling are expected during Q3 2015, with 6" planned to come online during H1 2016.
Experts in the semi-polar GaN field will know that semi-polar GaN displays anisotropic behaviour under x-ray diffraction. What this means is that, unlike c-plane GaN, semi-polar GaN crystal quality is dependent on the direction along the wafer that the measurement is taken. This latest development has overcome this issue yielding a semi-polar GaN layer with isotropic crystal quality. This not only enhances the optical isotropy of the material but also ensures electrical properties such as mobility are also isotropic.
This latest generation is now available for sampling in 2" diameter or custom sizes. At less than 5um thick, the GaN layer for these semi-polar templates is the thinnest available on the market today, ensuring minimal wafer bow with maximum defect blocking.
For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Seren Photonics saw significant interest in their high quality semi-polar templates at the recent IWN Poland 2014 conference in the beautiful University city of Wroclaw.
Seren Photonic's semi-polar and non-polar templates meet industry needs for a commercially viable source of high quality material at low cost that can easily be scaled to 4" and 6" diameter.
Academic research on semi-polar and non-polar is becoming more prominent and it is likely that semi-polar research will very quickly become a main-stream subject in the pursuit of improved Opto-electronic GaN devices. The main focus for GaN LEDs is still on how to overcome droop, but there appears to be an emerging consensus that Auger is a dominant factor.
This further increases the interest levels in semi-polar and non-polar GaN given their potential to help reduce droop. Greater emphasis is now being placed on green and amber LEDs in order to overcome the limitations facing RGB colour mixed white light LEDs. Semi-polar GaN in particular was shown to significantly enhance the ability to grow high quality green quantum wells.
A £1.9m funding round backed by Finance Wales and IP Group will allow Seren Photonics to begin volume manufacture of its innovative materials for the rapidly expanding LED-based lighting market.
Seren Photonics revolutionary templates, developed by Prof Tao Wang from the University of Sheffield, have the potential to greatly increase the efficiency at which a LED converts voltage into light by significantly reducing "droop", resolving a problem where gradually increasing applied currents are converted into heat instead of light in conventional LEDs.
The new templates also enable the manufacture of high intensity green LEDs, plugging the "green gap" that current materials fail to achieve.
Godfrey Ainsworth, chairman of Seren, said: "Successful small-scale manufacture of the templates has been achieved on industry standard equipment and evaluation by Tier 1 manufacturers is under way. With this funding secured, cost-effective volume manufacture is achievable by the end of this year."
"The next two years will be exciting for Seren as we further our engagements with manufacturing partners and Tier 1 customers and ramp up production"
Having outgrown our previous site, Seren Photonics moved into a new HQ today, the UK Technology Centre:
The new high tech space is set in superb landscaped surroundings, making it an inspiring and idyllic backdrop to grow our business and welcome visitors to see Seren Photonics' technologies.
Our new address:
UK Technology Centre,
Pencoed Technology Park,
CF35 5HZ, United Kingdom
+44 (0)1656 865437
Dr Bedwyr Humphreys, Seren Photonic's CDO, talked about the latest development of non-polar and semi-polar GaN/sapphire template products at the CHINA SSL 2013 Forum.
Bedwyr Humphreys, Seren Photonics Chief Development Officer gave an engaging talk at this years ChinaSSL exposition. Dicussing the breakthroughs of Seren Photonics' development of 2 inch Gallium Nitride III templates.
Professor P Jin of Harbin Institute of Technology (left) with Dr Tong Zhang during a visit the Professor made to Seren Photonics. The two organisations have discussed further collaboration opportunities on both research and commercial issues.
Seren Photonics have been awarded an "Innovation Vouchers" grant from
the Welsh Government to further equip its pilot facility in the UK.
Seren Photonics was interviewed by Compound Semiconductor to explain the latest semi-polar GaN technology for a bright light.
Ms Ling Wu, the General Secretary of China SSL Alliance (CSA) met Seren Photonics for discussion on collaboration and the future of the LED market.
Seren Photonics recently appeared in LEDs Magazine - China Oct/Nov 2012 issue.
The online version is at:
http://www.ledschinamag.com/Dehinter.asp?id=2584 - (Chinese language only)
For more information
about Seren Photonics