VCSEL Pilot Line for IR Illumination, Datacom and Power Applications







Technical University of Eindhoven

The VIDaP consortium was formed in May 2014 to establish a pan-European supply chain capability for the high volume production of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) for infrared illumination, data communications, gesture recognition and industrial heating applications.

The aim of the programme is to establish a European based production capability to bring VCSEL manufacturing to a level comparable to LED and CMOS manufacturing. By bringing together existing high volume production with key end users, the consortium will deliver an end-to-end production supply chain offering a significant reduction in the cost-per-function for VCSEL devices by reducing GaAs processing costs whilst increasing device performance.

VCSELs are key enabling technologies for a wide range of applications where demand is proliferating rapidly as this advanced laser becomes the device of choice for many high volume applications including: 

  • Gesture recognition, for gaming and non-contact navigation (e.g. TV, smartphone, tablet)
  • Depth imaging for 3D vision, using 'time of flight (ToF)' technology, driving next wave of handset innovation for must have new phones
  • Production line heating automation: significant operating efficiencies can be achieved using VCSEL technology with applications requiring tens of millions of devices
  • Low energy optical storage and fast switching in high capacity data centres, servers and ultra-high speed computing
  • High speed datacomms, including Active Optical Cables (AOC)
  • Ultra-High Density magnetic Storage using Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR)
  • Illumination for IR cameras for security, safety, night vision
  • Other industrial heating applications including paint curing and commercial print shops
  • Cosmetics and healthcare including hair removal, antiwrinkle, blemish reduction

The Euro 23million VCSEL Pilot Line for IR Illumination, Datacom and Power Applications (VIDaP) programme, led by Philips and whose partners include IQE, STMicroelectronics, Sick, Sidel and the Technical University of Eindhoven, will receive funding under the European Commission's ENIAC program with IQE receiving significant support from the Welsh Government.

A key impact of the project will be for Europe to secure a leading global position in this vital and rapidly growing segment of photonics.

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