In 2017, the appearance of the iPhone X made 3D sensing technology that provided Face ID face unlocking a hot spot, and also brought the core component VCSEL in the 3D sensing module. In fact, VCSEL is not a new technology, its birth dates back to the 1980s, and it was commercialized as early as 1996.
This VCSEL technology, which has been turned red again due to apples, is one of the infrared laser technologies.
1. What is a VCSEL? What is the working principle of VSCEL?
VCSEL is an abbreviation for vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, which refers to a vertical cavity surface emitting laser, which is a single-chip laser resonator that emits light perpendicular to the surface of a semiconductor chip, as opposed to an edge-emitting laser (EEL). The light is emitted from the edge of the chip. This technology can also be used as a VCSEL array consisting of hundreds of VCSELs that are glued and bonded like regular LEDs.
2. What are the advantages of VCSELs compared to EEL (edge â€‹â€‹emitting lasers)?
The similarities between the two: EEL and VCSEL have narrow bandwidths; the extremely short switching times of EEL and VCSEL make them suitable for TOF (time-of-flight) applications.
VCSEL technology combines the technical advantages of both parties. The temperature sensitivity of VCSEL wavelengths is much lower than EEL. It is capable of emitting temperature optics in a specified direction, with high energy density and simple packaging of infrared light, as well as the spectral width of linear emitters such as EEL technology. A key feature of such a surface emitter is that it not only has a lower production cost, but also a lower output power than an edge emitter, and also has a good beam quality.
3. Where is the VCSEL used?
VCSEL technology can now be used in many applications and in a variety of end consumer markets such as robotics, mobile devices, surveillance, drones, and AR/VR. VCSELs are a good choice for applications that require high-speed modulation, such as cameras and biometrics.
Lower production costs and higher reliability make VCSELs more widely used in consumer electronics, such as 3D sensing and facial recognition, which are considered to be major market growth points.
4. Similar to infrared technology, what manufacturing synergies will VCSEL bring?
Similarities with infrared technology can also lead to manufacturing synergies, reflected in the integration, packaging and testing processes:
Chip manufacturing: Full vertical structure enables manufacturers to use traditional semiconductor manufacturing equipment to maintain lower production costs;
Reliability: VCSELs do not suffer from traditional laser structure failures such as dark lines. At the same time, because VCSELs can be mounted in an array and have a very long lifetime, they are not afraid of catastrophic optical damage, unlike systems based on single or small LED/EEL;
Testability: The VCSEL can withstand complete testing and overload verification at wafer state. This not only increases production but also reduces costs;
Scalability: VCSELs can easily form one- or two-dimensional arrays to increase output power to meet specific needs;
Package: VCSELs can reduce costs by using traditional low-cost LED packaging equipment and allow LEDs to replace VCSELs in existing equipment;
Custom packaging: On-board chip technology and custom packaging can be used to simplify the system integration process.
5. Will VCSEL replace other infrared technologies?
Although VCSEL has many advantages over the prior art, it is not a universal solution that is automatically applied to all industries. VCSEL does not compete with existing technologies, but rather an extension of the lineup of infrared technology products.
6. What are the recent actions of major international manufacturers?
Osram's wholly-owned acquisition of Vixar last year strengthened its business portfolio of semiconductor lighting and laser technology. Shortly after the acquisition of the US specialist Vixar, OSRAM launched the first VCSEL product, the Bidos PLPVQ 940A series, setting new standards for markets including mobile device facial recognition. At the same time, as a German high-tech company, OSRAM will complement its wide range of infrared (IR) technology products through VCSEL solutions to help customers benefit from a wide range of VCSEL technologies and select the right solution for each application. .
Philips chose to quit VCSEL. At the end of last year, according to foreign media reports, Philips agreed to sell its growing VCSEL business - Philips Photonics to a German old company called Trumpf, which is expected to be sold in the second quarter of this year. Philips Photonics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Philips in Germany. In 2006, Philips entered the VCSEL by acquiring Ulm Photonics in Germany and renamed it Philips Photonics.
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