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Seren Photonics raises £1.9M to scale up production of its revolutionary semi & non-polar GaN templates

Seren Photonics Ltd (“Seren”), is pleased to announce it has secured significant funding that will enable it to begin the volume manufacture of its world class semi-polar and non-polar GaN templates for the rapidly expanding LED based General Lighting market. 

Seren’s revolutionary new templates, developed by Prof Tao Wang from the University of Sheffield, have the potential to greatly increase the efficiency at which a LED converts voltage into light by significantly reducing “droop”; an inherent problem in conventional LEDs where gradually increasing applied currents are converted into heat instead of light. Furthermore, these newly available orientations of GaN also enable the manufacture of high intensity green LEDs plugging the “green gap” that current materials fail to achieve.

Successful small scale manufacture of the patent pending templates has been achieved on industry standard equipment.  The templates are currently being evaluated by Tier 1 manufacturers and world class research establishments.  Once they go into production, the new orientation material can potentially enable diodes to be driven much harder than at present so dramatically reducing the number of diodes per luminaire and potentially removing the need for expensive cooling.  The net effect is a significant reduction in the luminaire’s $/lm.  Economically producing semi & non-polar oriented GaN material in the form of 2”, 4” and eventually 6” substrates is recognised within the industry as the last significant hurdle to overcome before nitride based LEDs realise their full potential in all aspects of lighting.

Seren’s technology is targeted at the large and fast growing white light LED markets, such as back lighting for laptops and TVs, signs and displays, as well as domestic and architectural lighting.  This market is currently worth an estimated $12bn, is set to grow to $17bn by 2018, driven by Global legislation aimed at phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps as well as energy conservation; it is estimated that the large scale adoption of LED lighting in the USA alone will cut that country’s annual energy bill by the equivalent of 500 million barrels of oil.

Seren’s funding round raised a total of £1.9M from investors including FusionIP plc, IP Group plc and Finance Wales Ltd.  The funding will be used to purchase key capital equipment and complete several pilot scale manufacturing cycles to supply the growing demand for Seren’s innovative templates.

Dr Godfrey Ainsworth, Chairman of Seren said:
“We have made significant progress with the development of these templates over the last year.  Evaluation of our templates by Tier 1 manufacturers is underway and now the funding is secured, cost effective volume manufacture is achievable by the end of this year.  The next two years will be exciting for Seren as we further our engagements with manufacturing partners and Tier 1 customers and ramp up production; it’s a great time to be involved in such a business.”

Dr Carl Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer commented:
"Seren continues to make excellent progress and I am particularly excited by the new orientations of GaN on sapphire that Prof Wang and his group at Sheffield have developed.  These materials certainly have the potential to overcome some of the existing failings in conventional oriented GaN. It’s a real privilege to be so heavily involved in cracking the last fundamental technical hurdles faced by GaN and see it realise its full potential.  The next two years will be very rewarding as we grow the company’s capacity.”

Alan Aubrey, CEO of IP Group plc said:
“Seren Photonics has made excellent progress in developing its ground-breaking GaN technologies.     Both Fusion and IP Group are long term investors in Seren and the combined group is delighted to continue to support the company through its next phase of commercialization, including working with customers and scaling up with its manufacturing partners.”   

Ann Casey, Investment Executive, Technology Venture Investments team at Finance Wales said:
“Seren Photonics has made significant progress in developing its technology over the last few years and it has a clear understanding of its key markets, which are growing significantly as a result of changing legislation.  Finance Wales is delighted that the company has recently located its headquarters to the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed.  This funding round is a significant boost for the company and will enable it to undertake further development and gear up for volume manufacturing.”