BreakThrough Interview

Solving social issues by taking advantage of diverse semiconductor laser technologiesQD Laser Inc.

<Part 2 (2 Parts in Series)>


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QD Laser, Inc., which develops and manufactures various semiconductor lasers, has been solving issues in a variety of fields with its proprietary technologies, including the “quantum dot laser” that the company has successfully commercialized for the first time in the world. In this second part of this two-part series, we interviewed President Mitsuru Sugawara about the important points for developing products and technologies and his approach to making corporate collaboration successful.

Refining core technologies and expanding widely into various fields

QD Laser, Inc. is a startup company that develops its business in various fields, such as communication, machining, sensing, and displays. While refining its core technology of generating and controlling light using semiconductor lasers, it explores the possibilities of utilizing its technology widely in society.

"The "quantum dot laser," which uses nano-sized semiconductor particles called "quantum dots" as its light-emitting source, can operate stably even at 200°C. It enables high-speed communication at low power. If you use our "optics/electronics conversion chip," in which this quantum dot laser is installed, to enable transmission of information in an integrated circuit with light, you can significantly reduce the power consumption of data centers."

This quantum dot laser, which is attracting high expectations to be a fundamental technology for information processing and optical communication, is also actively used for face recognition, inter-vehicle distance measurement for autonomous driving, and other applications. "VISIRIUM Technology," which draws images on the retina using the laser light of the three primary colors, is used for visual assistance and AR displays. The semiconductor lasers that emit green or orange light, which was previously impossible, are used for applications such as high-speed measurements of individual cells.

Creating non-conventional technologies

QD Laser, which has created many innovative technologies, was established in 2006 as a spin-off venture by Mr. Sugawara, who had been engaged in research on semiconductors at Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. The company’s goal is to explore the possibilities of semiconductor technology so that it leads to solving various social issues.

"Discoveries are often found by chance. So I think it is important to try everything. However, if we want to utilize such discoveries in society, we need to identify why they worked successfully in light of physical principles. When we try to create a non-conventional technology or product, there is the option to engage in corporate collaboration with companies that have technologies we don’t have."

Mr. Sugawara says that joint research with the University of Tokyo, which has expertise in the crystal growth of "quantum dots," has greatly helped the company develop "quantum dot lasers" and improve their performance.

The key to successful corporate collaboration is a win-win partnership

The interviewer asked Mr. Sugawara about the key to successful corporate collaboration.

"Creating new things while making the most of each other's strengths. Building such a win-win partnership is the first step for successful collaboration. Based on that, both sides share the goal and information. I think it is also necessary to have the ability to break through by highlighting the significance of joint research within the company and getting it approved."

The company's slogan is "Light up the people’s possibilities." Under this slogan, the company is focusing on the social implementation of its technologies in various fields. It is currently working on developing a compact fundus examination device that uses the reflection data of laser light projected onto the retina to perform eye examinations, applying its VISIRIUM Technology.

"I believe that "VISIRIUM Technology" and its commercialized "RETISSA series" can be used in various scenes in society as a means of visual assistance or AR display. I would be happy to establish collaborations with companies that will expand this technology and product further into society, taking advantage of their own technology."

Series Solving social issues by taking advantage of diverse semiconductor laser technologies

Series 1 Developing unprecedented technology for visual assistance or VR display: Drawing images on the retina with semiconductor lasers
Series 2 Solving social issues by taking advantage of diverse semiconductor laser technologies

Company information

QD Laser Inc.

Mitsuru Sugawara, President and CEO

QD Laser, Inc. was launched in 2006 as a spin-off venture of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. The company engages in the development, manufacture, and social implementation of various semiconductor lasers and has developed its business widely into the fields such as communication, laser machining, sensing, and displays. It is the first company in the world that successfully commercialized and mass-produced quantum dot lasers. Besides that, the company possesses a number of proprietary technologies, including "VISIRIUM Technology," which projects images directly onto the retina with laser light.

Coverage date November 5, 2020

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