Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023

Being one of a few manufacturers of diode lasers based on semiconductor Quantum Dots, Innolume is excited to learn that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023 was awarded to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov for the discovery and development of quantum dots. The first quantum dots based on II-VI semiconductor microcrystals in a glass matrix were proposed and demonstrated by Alexei Ekimov and A. Onushchenko in 1981 (JETP Lett.) while working at the Ioffe Institute and the Vavilov State Optical Institute In St.Petersburg.

These semiconductor quantum dots were introduced in an insulating glass matrix, which  prohibited direct current pumping. In 1985 L.Goldshtein observed spontaneous formation of three-dimensional islands during the epitaxial growth of InAs/GaAs superlattice (L.Goldshtein et al, Appl.Phys.Lett). In the beginning of 90’s many research organizations around the world started active research on how to form ideal InGaAs QDs in GaAs matrix in order to develop a new class of diode lasers. The collaboration between the group of Prof. Zhores Alferov (Nobel Prize in Physics 2000 for invention of semiconductor heterostructures and demonstration of first diode laser operating at room temperature) which developed MBE growth of QDs at Ioffe Institute and the group of Prof. Dieter Bimberg (UNESCO Medal for Progress in Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences 2012) at Technical University of Berlin led to demonstration of the first QD laser in 1993 (Kirstaedter et al, Elect.Lett, 1994).

Colloidal QDs for displays

InAs/GaAs QDs for diode lasers

Innolume was founded in Dortmund, Germany in 2003 as a spin-off from Zhores Alferov’s laboratory and started commercialization of QD photonics components such as Fabry-Perrot and DFB lasers, Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers, arrays, gain chips, as well as continued  intensive research work. In 2007 Innolume demonstrated the first semiconductor frequency comb laser with stable performance and 10 Gbps error free signal transmission on each of ten lasing lines (A.Gubenko et al, El.Lett). A proper QD gain media was the key to have stable multiple wavelength operation.

Today Innolume serves more than 100 customers worldwide offering laser diodes with superior performance compared to conventional Quantum Well lasers, including such parameters as uncooled operation at 110℃ with high efficiency, high power, low noise, narrow lasing linewidth, reduced sensitivity to back reflection, stable multiple lasing wavelength (combs), and finally significantly enhanced reliability. In combination with well established cost effective high volume manufacturing of GaAs devices, all these parameters dictate massive penetration of InAs/GaAs QD photonics components into Cloud Networking, AI/ML clusters, LiDARs and other markets.