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Our team has combined experience of more than 50 years in developing optical and electronic technologies. We have comprehensive design, modelling and prototype capability along with extensive facilities for characterisation. These case studies demonstrate the value delivered to our customers.

Active alignment and assembly of multi-camera array

In this project we supported Cloud Kickers Devices in producing a multi camera array with highly aligned components. We worked closely with the team and drew on our experience in assembly of optical systems. We designed a system and procedure allowing 6-axis active alignment. A number of aligned array modules were fabricated using the system and delivered to Cloud Kickers.

“We approached Sharp Labs to help provide us with optical expertise to help us plan and oversee the assembly of a multi camera array. Through several efficient meetings we developed a project plan and a technical solution utilising their in-house R&D facilities. They quickly came back with a competitive quote and offered good flexibility on the payment terms."

"The project went smoothly, with good communication at each milestone and decision point. All deliverables were carried out on schedule and fully meeting our accuracy requirements. I would strongly recommend Sharp Labs to others and intend to work with them again in the near future.”

Daniel Lomas, Managing Director at Cloud Kickers Devices Ltd

Characterisation of gold nanoparticles

We worked with Nikalyte to characterise nanocoatings produced by gas terminated deposition in their NL50 nanoparticle deposition system. Absorption spectroscopy was used to find optical absorption peaks for gold nanoparticles on glass substrates.

"We approached Sharp Labs to carry out optical absorption measurements of our nanoparticles as we were aware of their extensive optical characterization facilities. The Sharp Labs team were able to adapt their experimental setup quickly for our non-standard samples and provided rapid and detailed feedback on the results. We would recommend Sharp Labs to anyone with a technical problem and will definitely continue to work with the team again in the future."

Dr Vicky Broadley, Sales and Marketing Director at Nikalyte Ltd

Investigation of failure root cause

We were approached by Current Health to support an investigation into the root cause of failures in electronic devices. We used scanning electron microscopy with material composition analysis to examine components. We drew on our materials expertise to identify a sequence of events leading to the failures.

"I've worked with Sharp Labs before and knew that they had the technology and experience required to help with a specific characterization task that Current Health required. After approaching them with our problem they suggested a solution for the best way forwards and followed it through with our samples, providing fast responses, qualitative answers and real data. I would definitely recommend Sharp Labs and their expert R&D team to others and would contact them again for similar projects in the future."

Christine Hawkins, Manufacturing and Process Engineer at Current Health

Characterisation of metal nanoparticles on non-conducting substrates.

We worked with PolyCatUK Ltd to assess the feasibility of using scanning electron microscopy to characterise metal nanoparticles immobilised on non-conducting substrates. We were able to assess size and morphology of nanoparticles in secondary electron images. Using backscattered electrons and x-ray analysis, we assessed the distribution and density of nanoparticles.

“Sharp Laboratories analysed samples from PolyCatUK using their expertise in scanning electron microscopy. Their work provided us with high quality images allowing us to see very clearly the distribution and density of the metal we had bound within the samples. We could not have achieved this by ourselves. The turnaround was fast and communication was both timely and clear, leading to a great result. It will allow us to optimise our process and product for various applications. We would be very happy to work with the team at Sharp Laboratories again.”

Bill Paterson, CTO at PolyCatUK Ltd


Left - Backscattered electron image of metal nanoparticles (white) on an uncoated non-conductive substrate (grey). Surface and subsurface inclusions of metal oxide filler materials are also visible (pale grey). Right - X-ray map of the same region for a distinctive emission energy of the element of interest, showing nanoparticle aggregates and clusters.

Assessment of light sources for augmented reality applications

We worked with a rapidly expanding company, who are developing a next generation augmented reality platform, to identify the challenges and opportunities of using a new light source in their products. The project included assessment of different configurations and analysis of tolerances for manufacture.

“Sharp Laboratories conducted a feasibility study which enabled us to make a rapid, informed decision about where to focus our development activity.”

VP of product, photonics start-up


Shaping of laser beams using a microlens array

Many applications using laser beams require modification of the laser beam profile and/or uniformity from how it is generally emitted from a laser source. For example in industrial applications, laser printing and lighting applications, a uniform irradiance (flat-top) will be most frequently used due to the fact that the same interaction of the beam is sought over the illuminated area.

The aim of this project was to focus a laser diode beam to a spot area less than 0.7 mm2 with a flat top intensity profile. We designed and optimised a specific microlens array (MLA) as a beam shaping homogeniser using both ray tracing and physical optics propagation (POP) in Zemax. The laser source was created in our simulation and experimental laser beam profile data such as near field pattern, divergence angle and astigmatism was used. MLA was fabricated according to our design.

The optical system using a focusing lens and the designed MLA was set up and laser beam shaped measured in our laboratory. The images show the optical set up in Zemax, the results of the Zemax simulation ray tracing and physical optics propagation and the measured beam profile. Target beam uniformity and beam size was achieved. The measured fringes pattern which is caused by the laser beam coherence interaction with the MLA is also well reproduced in the simulation.

Modelling of high power edge-emitting laser diode

We have developed expert knowledge of III-V and III-N edge emitting laser diodes. Simulation of lasing is a challenging problem and getting accurate results which can be trusted to contribute to product development requires a lengthy optimisation loop between experimental and simulated results. Here we show modelling of the near field pattern of a multimode ridge waveguide edge emitting laser diode. The calculated light output characteristic versus current is also shown. The calculation of different number of lasing modes illustrate how total output power can be affected in the simulation. A compromise of accuracy and computation time can then be made.

Heat dissipation analysis

Simulation of thermal dissipation of a watt class laser diode mounted in a standard TO9 can and then in a metal chassis. Convection cooling was included in the simulation and flow is illustrated by red arrows.

Design of waveguides for laser beam mixing

Combining red, green and blue laser beams in a small package is desirable for future applications in wearable devices. Free space optics are generally used but then reduction in size is limited. This project considered the use of silica (SiO2) waveguides as a beam combiner where each laser beam is coupled to a separate waveguide and brought within a few microns at the combiner output. Beam propagation simulation was developed using a combination of in house and commercially available software. Each of the waveguide branches was optimised for low loss propagation and minimised stray light. Results of our simulation show near field patterns at the output of the combiner for the three wavelengths. The beams were separated by about 5um at the output of the combiner which was sufficient for the application.

Power devices

High power GaN HEMT Transistors are very promising devices for new high power applications in renewable energy converters, electrical cars battery converters, data servers and any applications requiring high power density and reduction in form factor. Due to the high voltage used in these applications, temperature performance of GaN HEMT must be understood and optimised. We developed a temperature dependent HEMT device physics modelling capability. Device experimental results were used for our model calibration and a feedback loop simulation-experiment was then followed to improve the device performance. We show here an example of the 2D temperature map of the GaN HEMT device simulation after 0.01ms operation. The 1D plot report the temperature rise at the gate edge and in the silicon substrate. Simulation and measurement show very good agreement.