IQE of Cardiff, UK, has joined a new consortium to establish a pan-European supply chain for volume production of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs). IQE, Philips, STMicroelectronics, Sick and Sidel are participants in the Euro 23million VCSEL Pilot Line for IR Illumination, Datacom and Power Applications (VIDaP) program. The European Commission’s ENIAC JU partnership will fund the program, and IQE will receive significant support from the Welsh Government.
The program aims to establish VCSEL production in Europe at a level that compares to LED and CMOS manufacturing. The consortium intends to combine IQE’s existing high volume production facilities with key end users to deliver an end-to-end production supply chain that reduces the cost-per-function for VCSEL devices by decreasing GaAs processing cost and increasing device performance. IQE previously demonstrated its 100mm VCSEL process which it enhanced with the 150mm VCSEL wafer products it launched in March 2014 for high volume applications.
VCSELs enable applications including gesture recognition, depth imaging for 3D systems using ‘time of flight’ (TOF technology, production line heating automation, low energy optical storage and fast switching in high capacity data centers, high speed data communications including active optical cables, heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), illumination for IR cameras, other industrial heating applications such as paint curing and print shops, cosmetics, and healthcare.
Dr. Drew Nelson, IQE CEO, said, “By working with key European partners to establish full pilot manufacturing capabilities for high volume production, we will bring the same principles and economies of scale that apply to LED and CMOS processes, to photonics applications employing VCSELs.”