QCL developer Stratium targets gas sensing

The active layers of Stratium's QCL structures are deposited using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) equipment similar to that shown here. Photo: Riber.


Sheffield spin-out sets up in Cardiff to take advantage of local compound semiconductor expertise and investment.

Published 01 Feb 2016, by Michael Hatcher, Editor-in-chief, Optics.org (SPIE)

Stratium, a new spin-out company from the University of Sheffield in the UK, has launched its first quantum cascade laser (QCL) for gas sensing applications.

Although the company, which will exhibit at the forthcoming SPIE Photonics West event in San Francisco, developed its QCL designs at Sheffield, it has now re-located to Cardiff – where it can take advantage of a £50 million “Catapult” investment in compound semiconductors.

Stratium’s commercial director Phil Cornish told optics.org that the firm has particular expertise in short-wavelength QCLs, thanks to the incorporation of antimonide layers in its epiwafer structures.

So far, Stratium has raised around £300,000 in seed capital investment from IP Group and Finance Wales. That has supported the launch of its “Bruar” product, a mid-infrared QCL chip-on-sub-mount device that operates at room temperature and is initially aimed at gas sensing and environmental monitoring.

“Currently we have three wavelengths available, 2.8µm, 3.3µm and 10.0µm, which are suitable for the detection of ethanol, methane and ammonia respectively,” Cornish said. “We are focusing on emerging OEM gas sensing markets by introducing the next generation of advanced QCLs, with industrial-grade performance and reliability.”