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16 January 2013

Versatilis spins out new venture VerLASE

Technology development firm Versatilis LLC of Shelburne, VT, USA has spun out VerLASE Technologies LLC, a new venture in lasers and solid-state lighting that aims to further develop and commercialize technology that it has been developing (in stealth mode) over several years. Using novel materials and processes, surface-emitting laser diodes and novel LEDs are an early product focus, including sources that emit directly at green wavelengths. The initial private investment round was led by Hong Kong-based private investment group Wakley Ltd (which focuses on high-tech ventures with significant intellectual property in high-growth energy markets).

LEDs and laser diodes currently emit light in wavelengths limited by the materials technology used. In the visible spectrum, these are mainly in blue or red colors. In LEDs, phosphors are then used to convert the light into other colors (including white), with associated losses in efficiency and increased costs. In laser diodes, colors such as green are typically achieved by frequency doubling, which limits the efficiency and wavelengths that can be attained. Versatilis claims that VerLASE’s technology circumvents these problems to obtain very high-brightness light sources emitting light directly at novel wavelengths and at lower costs.

“We have a different materials approach to laser diodes, for example, that can enable devices emitting directly in green and other colors,” says Versatilis’ CEO George Powch, who will lead the new firm, together with CTO Ajay Jain (the inventor of the technology) as VerLASE’s chief technology officer. VerLASE says that it is working with key partners to demonstrate working devices, and plans to selectively sample its first products by the end of 2013. Early discussions are ongoing with prospective manufacturing partners.

Funded by private investors specializing in technology ventures, Versatilis was founded by Jain and Powch in 2004 to focus on advanced materials and manufacturing processes for specialized applications in industries ranging from defense to flexible displays to solar cells. It works with research universities including Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), where Versatilis is a member of the iCLEAN Incubator, and with associates and partners worldwide. The firm has won Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from US Government agencies including the Department of Energy (DOE), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). It is a 2006 winner of the National Roland Tibbetts Award for SBIR Excellence, and a 2011 Finalist of the New Energy Symposium at the New York Academy of Sciences. The firm has licensed several of its technologies.

Tags: Green laser


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