BluGlass (ASX:BLG) operational update


by Anna Napoli

BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG) Managing Director and CEO Giles Bourne discusses the company's contract with DARPA and Yale University, and development of its laser diode business.

Anna Napoli: Hello. Anna Napoli for the Finance News Network. And joining me now from BluGlass (ASX:BLG) is Managing Director Giles Bourne. Giles, welcome back.

Giles Bourne: Thank you, Anna.

Anna Napoli: Firstly, Giles, congratulations on winning the subcontract from Yale University and DARPA. Can you tell us a bit more about what it means for the business?

Giles Bourne: DARPA is part of the US Defense. It's the US Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency. And they provide contracts to collaborators looking for advancing technology. And, in this case, they're working closely with Yale University, and we're working with Yale in turn on a program called LUMOS. And LUMOS is about laser diodes. So, we're providing resources to Yale and in turn to DARPA, doing something which hasn't been done before. And it's really taking laser diodes on to photonics integrated circuits, which is very, very difficult to do, to make a single device. So, it's got its challenges, but great opportunities if we're successful. There's good commercial applications that come out of it. So we'll be working with this program for about 18 months starting now. So it's hugely exciting for us, but it's the first foray into our laser diode business.

Anna Napoli: And you've also recently announced that your RPCVD system has completed testing. What would be the next steps here?

Giles Bourne: We've now got five machines over in Silverwater, and the latest one we commissioned recently, and we've now just bought it online, up to speed with the rest of our system. So it's a big machine. It's one that would be used by companies out there who would be very familiar with it. It's one that's actively being used in the industry at the moment. So it's all part of our scaling project. So it's actually bringing our technology up to a platform which is commercial size.

So, not only do we do that, but it gives us much greater capacity in our facility so we can address more of the laser diode opportunity, the LED opportunity, our foundry opportunity. So this is great news for us. We're now producing really good uniform material coming out of it, commensurate to a six inch wafer. And to do this, to get to where we wanted to get to, was a long convoluted process, working very closely with the original machine manufacturer, which is Aixtron, who helped us pull together this technology with our technology for RPCVD effectively onto a commercial MOCVD platform. And now we're able to demonstrate the scale of our platform, which is hugely exciting, because it is a really novel design for us, and it's working really well, and that contributes into BluGlass's success.

Anna Napoli: And, Giles, I understand you've made good progress on your laser diode development. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?

Giles Bourne: Laser diodes are the application that we've been focusing on most this year. We believe it's one that is a commercial opportunity for us. So, you might recall that we were actually working on building up a laser diode supply chain. So, the way it works is we're doing all the manufacturing in Australia, and then we take the product we manufacture here and take it through various processing steps through supply chain partners in the US, and we've set up a facility in the east coast of the US, which is now all up and running. And so the idea there is taking various applications and taking them to market. Applications such as cutting and welding, there's biomedical opportunities, there's display opportunities, and the ones that are most relevant and the most advanced for us are the 405, the 420 and the 450 nanometre product. So, we said that we would have product this year, sample product and prototype product, and then we'd have fully tested product early next year, and then start ramping up sales, and we remain on track for that, which is hugely exciting.

Anna Napoli: So Giles, in addition to all that, what can investors look forward to in the coming quarter?

Giles Bourne: Sure. So, well, apart from the laser diodes, which has really dominated our talk to date, we are working also on our other applications. So we've always talked about LEDs, micro LEDs and some of these other applications. So, we continue to work on those behind the scenes. Obviously haven't been as active on that this year as we would have intended to, partly because of COVID, and partly because we wanted to really build up this sort of product business, this laser diode one.

But nonetheless, we still have customers there who are taking micro LED products out of us. We have collaborations in place on the LED side as well. So we'll continue to work on that. But really, the key focus for us right now is making sure we have the laser diode product, we have the customers lined up, we can demonstrate revenue, and we'll continue to work on these other applications as well. So it's an exciting time for us. We've got our work cut out for us, but we can see that there is an opportunity, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anna Napoli: Giles Bourne, thank you so much for the update, and good luck with this very busy commercial pipeline.

Giles Bourne: Thank you, Anna.