GDAC Photonics

Superluminescent light sources for use in powering aircrafts, vehi...


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The current state-of-the-art broadband semiconductor light source, a superluminescent light-emitting diode or SLD, was invented three decades ago by our co-founder of GDAC, Dr. Gerard Alphonse, under U.S. government funding for interferometric fiber-optic gyroscopes (IFOGs).

SLDs function as the light source in many applications, including navigational and tactical grade IFOGs, optical coherence tomography (OCT) in retinal examinations in ophthalmology, and emerging use in guidance and “smart” distributed fiber optic sensing.

Current light sources for those applications are plagued with spectral artifacts that limit output power and introduce noise that adversely affect resolution and accuracy.

After three decades, and a great deal of experience with optical electronics R&D, we have developed an improved SLD light source which offers enhanced output power, efficiency, and will enable greater precision in current applications.

The DPLS is a new type of SLD that allows the spontaneous emission generated in a semiconductor chip to be amplified by the gain provided by the semiconductor chip as opposed to a single amplification in current state-of-the-art devices.

The accuracy and reliability of IFOG guidance systems is critically dependent on the output power, spectral bandwidth, and electrical efficiency of its semiconductor light sources.

The DPLS enables such peak system performance.

DPLS enhances performance by using a reflector on the back facet of a curved waveguide, and a free-propagation region near the front fact – all of which can be fabricated using standard semiconductor processing technologies already used in diode laser and SLD manufacturing.

This broad spectrum of light emitted by the DPLS (much wider than a laser) enables IFOG systems to measure very small variations in rotation rate.

The result is much more efficiency, increased and longer-lasting power. 

Standard SLDs have ripples in their spectrum and the DPLS eliminates these ripples. 


Product Development

The DPLS will be available in several configurations from the initial wafer growth and device processing runs at two wavelengths: 1550 nm and 830 nm. These wavelengths typically used for IFOG and OCT applications have been defined by two of GDAC’s most likely customers.

All fabrication tasks will be outsourced. GDAC has elicited interest from local organizations with expertise in the required crystal growth, wafer processing, device processing, packaging and testing and have also contacted additional purveyors of these services to ensure timely completion of production.




Gerard A. Alphonse, PhD, is a prolific inventor (60 patents) of new technologies, including superconductive devices, holography, acoustics, and photonics, Gerry is the inventor of the angled-stripe superluminescent light-emitting diode (SLD) in widespread use in OCT and IFOG systems. Previously, Gerry was with Sarnoff (formerly RCA Labs). He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from NYU and a PhD in electrophysics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Gerry is an IEEE Fellow, was President of IEEE-USA in 2005, and is in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

Donald B. Carlin, PhD, has extensive experience in technology development and program management, new venture creation, and business strategy. Previously, he was Senior Vice President at Melcor, with the Conversus Group, SVP/CTO of Optex Communications, and Head of Optoelectronics at Sarnoff Corporation. Don received his SB and SM in Physics from MIT and his PhD from Yale in laser physics. He conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard while also taking Harvard’s Introduction to Business Program for PhDs.

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