BluGlass (ASX:BLG) discusses laser diodes and business opportunities


by Rachael Jones

BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG) Managing Director, Giles Bourne talks about the opportunities that laser diodes represent for the company, following the Photonics West Conference.

Rachael Jones: Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Today I'm with the Managing Director of BluGlass (ASX:BLG), Giles Bourne. Giles, welcome back to FNN.

Giles Bourne: Thank you, Rachael.

Rachael Jones: Now Giles, it's been a while since we last saw you, and lots has been happening for the business behind the scenes. Can you just remind our viewers of BluGlass' unique technology and how you're positioning this in the markets it serves?

Giles Bourne: Yeah sure, Rachael, it's been a while since we last talked to you. The reason why it's been a while, we've been spending a lot of time on a new business that we've been talking about recently to the market. It's a laser diode business, which is really a subset of all the other work that we've been doing. So reminding your viewers what we do, BluGlass is a semiconductor deposition technology, so we make materials for high-efficiency, semiconductors like LEDs, microLEDs, power electronics, and now laser diodes. They're sort of devices you find in your everyday consumer electronics, mobile phones, televisions, laptops, etc.

So that's how technology developed for many, many years. Very complex, difficult technology, surrounded by a suite of patents now, which are global patents, and we spend a lot of time developing that for particular markets. So you're really focusing our business on consolidating to the areas where we can see revenue opportunities in high-growth markets. So LED remains important, microLEDs is important, but laser diodes as well is a good industrial application which can take advantage of our low temperature technology, and we can see a line of sight there to revenue-generating opportunities. So we focus the team, the technology team, the commercial team, really on those markets where we can get wins for the company.

Rachael Jones: And you presented a new paper on novel laser diodes at the Photonics West Conference. Can you tell us a little bit about this conference and about what the opportunity is for BluGlass with laser diodes?

Giles Bourne: Sure. So Photonics West is a conference that happens every year. It covers laser diodes, LEDs, and lots of other photonics-related applications. But for us, the focus this year was on the laser diodes, which was a major part of the show. So our head of epitaxy, Josh Brown, presented a paper showing how we derive the success from the tunnel junctions into a laser diode application to provide high-efficiency devices. So that was the basis of the paper.

Also, got a chance to interact with all the major industry players, particularly downstream customers who we know already, but of course that helped us to further qualify that what we're doing is the right path to get to revenue. So unlike the LED and some of the other applications we're working on, this is a direct-to-market product. So rather than a licensing-based business, we are manufacturing the laser diodes ourselves.

So we were doing the epitaxy at BluGlass in Silverwater, and then there's various different parts of supply chain that we've bedded down, but we'll actually end up selling a product to the market, a laser diode product. And the focus there is the industrial cutting and welding market, so it's our high-value market, a high-margin market, which has a need for high-efficiency devices.

And that Photonics West conference really sort of helped us qualify the opportunity that we are on the right path with this business. So we intend to do, very shortly, is provide the market with more details around what that looks like, the milestones, and the revenue opportunity for the business. We think it's very exciting, and it fits very nicely in our core strategy with our technology, RPCVD low temperature, very nicely sits alongside the LED, microLED and the other applications.

Rachael Jones: Excellent. And last question now, Giles. What can investors look forward to in the remaining half of financial year 2020?

Giles Bourne: We continue to work on our collaborations on the LEDs. So Bridgelux and Lumilux, we announced last year, which is the tunnel junction cascade LEDs for high-efficiency devices. The microLED remains an important market for us, and we have a number of paying customers there. We're developing novel applications from microLEDs. And again at that Photonics West show, we met with a lot of microLED customers who, again, re-emphasise to us the importance of these longer-wavelength devices where a low-temperature technology can deliver some really unique benefits.

So reaffirmed that we have a technology that's going to be very important, front and centre, in the microLED space. Those are the other applications we look at as well, but as I say, the ones where we see real market opportunities in the short term. There are some other advantages of the low-temperature technology that BluGlass has been approached about, and we look at those on a case-by-case basis and assess what the market applications are and what the monetary benefits are for the company.

So we're always being asked how we can apply a technology, but being a relatively small team, we focus on the areas where we think success can be derived. And then finally, we're working on upgrading our equipment, as you know. So we did a massive facility upgrade in 2019, we brought on a new tool that came online, and we've got another one, which is called the AIXTRON G4, which will come online during the course of this calendar year. So working very closely with our equipment partner AIXTRON, who are helping us modify that equipment into an RPCVD tool, and that will come and give us extra horsepower as we go through the year.

Rachael Jones: It's great news. Giles Bourne, thanks so much for the update.

Giles Bourne: Thanks, Rachael.


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