Osram Acquires VCSEL Firm Vixar

German firm Osram Licht AG announced that it has acquired VCSEL producer Vixar. VCSEL stands for vertical cavity surface emitting laser, a laser diode that emits light perpendicular to the surface of the semiconductor chip.

Osram says the purchase of the small-company, Vixar adds to its expertise in VCSEL technology used for optical identification and in security applications including 3D facial recognition. Osram also says that the acquisition will add to its technological capabilities and expertise, which already include the production of infrared LEDs and infrared laser diodes. Notably, the company already holds substantial intellectual property related to infrared LEDs and infrared laser diodes. Osram says it plans to expand its product portfolio after with the addition of Vixar’s VCSEL capabilities.

VCSELs Used for Identification, Gesture Recognition, and Distance Measurement

Osram points out, that while VCSELs are currently known primarily for identification applications in mobile devices they can also be used for gesture recognition and distance measurement in medical, industrial, and automotive applications can also use VCSEL technology.

Vixar, with about 20 employees is based in Plymouth, Minnesota. Osram points out that Vixar is profitable both operationally and on a net results level. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. The closing of the transaction is expected in summer of 2018.

“The acquisition of Vixar is adding to our expertise, particularly in the fast-growing market for security technologies,” said Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram Licht AG. “Osram is a technology leader in infrared optical semiconductors and has already succeeded in bringing to market light sources for fingerprint sensors, iris scanners, and 2D facial recognition. The acquired capabilities will pave the way for further security technologies, including ultra-compact 3D facial recognition. In addition to unlocking smartphones and other consumer electronics devices, such technologies also can be used for high-security access controls in industry.”

Osram notes that the use of VCSEL technology to capture 3D environmental data has applications ranging from gesture recognition, proximity sensors, robotics, and augmented reality to autonomous driving. VCSEL stands for vertical cavity surface emitting laser and is a special type of laser diode in which the light is emitted perpendicular to the surface of the semiconductor chip. Vixar is a fabless semiconductor company, and has developed a robust volume supply chain consisting of merchant foundries serving the optoelectronic market. Osram’s depth and breadth of semiconductor experience will further strengthen the manufacturing capabilities for the rapidly growing VCSEL market.