II‐VI Incorporated, a leader in semiconductor lasers, and Artilux, a leader in germanium silicon (GeSi) photonics and CMOS SWIR sensing technology, announced a joint demonstration of a next-generation 3D camera with much longer range and higher image resolution to greatly enhance user experience in the metaverse.
Investments in the metaverse infrastructure are accelerating and driving the demand for sensors that enable more realistic and immersive virtual experiences. II-VI and Artilux combined their proprietary technologies in indium phosphide (InP) semiconductor lasers and GeSi sensor arrays, respectively, to demonstrate a miniature 3D camera that operates in the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR), at 1380 nm, resulting in significantly higher performance than existing cameras operating at 940 nm.
“The longer infrared wavelength provides better contrasts and reveals material details that are otherwise not visible with shorter-wavelength illumination, especially in outdoor environments,” said Dr. Julie Sheridan Eng, Sr. Vice President, Optoelectronic Devices & Modules Business Unit, II-VI. “By designing a camera that operates at 1380 nm instead of 940 nm, we can illuminate the scene with greater brightness and still remain well within the margins of eye safety requirements. In addition, the atmosphere absorbs more sunlight at 1380 nm than at 940 nm, which reduces background light interference, greatly improving the signal-to-noise ratio and enabling cameras with longer range and better image resolution.”
“The miniature SWIR 3D camera can be seamlessly integrated into next-generation consumer devices, many of which are under development for augmented-, mixed-, and virtual-reality applications,” said Dr. Neil Na, co-founder and CTO of Artilux. “II‑VI and Artilux demonstrated a key capability that will enable the metaverse to become a popular venue for entertainment, work, and play. The SWIR camera demonstration provides a glimpse of the future of 3D sensing in the metaverse, with displays that can identify, delineate, classify, and render image content, or with avatars that can experience real-time eye contact and facial expressions.”
II-VI provided the highly integrated SWIR illumination module comprising InP edge-emitting lasers that deliver up to 2 W of output power and optical diffusers, in surface-mount technology (SMT) packages for low-cost and high-quality assembly. Artilux’s camera features a high-bandwidth and high-quantum-efficiency GeSi SWIR sensor array based on a scalable CMOS technology platform. Combined, the products enable a broad range of depth-sensing applications in consumer and automotive markets.