International technology group and the pioneer of optical glass SCHOTT, today announced at Photonics West 2020 that WaveOptics, a leading designer and manufacturer of waveguides for AR wearables, will base its new, ground-breaking next-generation waveguide technology initially with its Katana design, exclusively on the SCHOTT RealView™ product line of high-index glass wafers with 1.8 RI.
At only 7g and 1.15 mm in thickness, Katana is the latest addition to WaveOptics’ range of waveguide technology platforms that product designers can choose from, to deliver their desired augmented reality experiences.
“In this partnership, we are enhancing WaveOptics’ superior device properties by the outstanding performance of our SCHOTT RealView™ wafers,” said Dr. Ruediger Sprengard, Head of Augmented Reality at SCHOTT. “We’re proud to contribute to pave the way towards AR for customers.”
At Photonics West, WaveOptics will present its new waveguide designs based on the 200 mm SCHOTT RealView™ glass wafers with a refractive index of 1.8. As a result of this partnership’s persistence in implementing a joint innovation roadmap, this platform provides a high level of manufacturing maturity, that enables mass market commercialisation.
A filled innovation pipeline: Displaying today what is going to be possible tomorrow
WaveOptics and SCHOTT are also engaged in a collaboration with two other enterprises to present the world’s first waveguides made on glass substrate with a refractive index of 1.9. This also involves a matching nanostructured polymer from Inkron OY, produced on a 300 mm wafer-processing platform from EV Group (EVG) designed for mass production.
“This partnership is critical for WaveOptics as we scale up our mass manufacturing capability this year,“ said David Hayes, CEO WaveOptics. “Now we are able to combine our advanced waveguide technology with SCHOTT’s deep experience and outstanding portfolio of high index glass and wafers.”
Another important milestone on the road to Consumer AR devices
SCHOTT RealView™ glass wafers with a high refractive index are key components of next-gen AR/MR headsets. The glass wafers are the basis for customers’ waveguides, and therefore are a key part of the AR/MR display unit that enables an immersive user experience (discover the 3-layered waveguide technology here). SCHOTT offers the broadest product portfolio of the industry with refractive indices from 1.5 to 1.9 at wafer diameters of 100, 150, 200, and 300 mm – with more to be expected from its active innovation pipeline. SCHOTT’s product quality and innovation power is based on world-class R&D experts, who are always on the trail of SCHOTT’s corporate DNA as the pioneer in optics since the year 1884. In-house developed metrology is the basis for quality improvement and product innovation. Cutting edge optical coatings designed specifically for waveguides and state-of-the-art laser processing capabilities complement SCHOTT’s product offering.
A glass innovation that inspires a whole industry
SCHOTT scientists and glass experts are constantly improving the quality of AR/MR-grade optical glass and fuelling the innovation pipeline with next-generation products in their German optical glass competence centers. Simultaneously, SCHOTT has proven mass production experience to consistently fulfil the highest quality demand of the industry prepared to serve the rapidly growing AR market. Being regarded as the key component for the full immersion experience, SCHOTT’s RealView™ glass wafers received the 2019 Display Industry Award for Display Component of the Year from the Society of Information Display, SID.
SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass, glass-ceramics and related high-tech materials. With over 130 years of experience, the company is an innovative partner to many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT has a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 34 countries. In fiscal year 2018/2019, the Group generated sales of EUR 2.2 billion with its 16,200 employees. SCHOTT AG has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. This is one of the oldest private and largest science-promoting foundations in Germany. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.
WaveOptics unlocks the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) for the mass market. Our waveguides and projectors are the key components in AR wearable devices and smart glasses, which allow digital images to be overlaid onto the real world. Founded in 2014, WaveOptics has a highly experienced team, with a breadth of skills and experience, who are driven and determined to make AR the next must-have technology. Our patented diffractive waveguide technology is readily customisable to meet the demands of any customer. Our technology was designed from the outset with mass manufacturing in mind, enabling efficient processes at low cost.