Plasma processes for high volume manufacturing of VCSELs

An article written by Dave Thomas for Novus Light Technologies Today – While Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) have been used in data communications for over 20 years, there are a host of emerging applications that are boosting demand for VCSEL production and performance. These include less well-known applications such as infrared illumination/heating and atomic clocks, to better-known proximity sensing for automotive safety, high-resolution video display, and gesture/facial recognition.

Generally, the advantages of VCSELs over alternatives like edge emitting lasers (EELs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are low cost and optical efficiency, within a small footprint. VCSELs also have the advantage of wavelength stability over temperature and are directionally focused to maximize output efficiency. As VCSELs are top-emitting (as are LEDs), they can be tested on-wafer, integrated with simpler optics and mounted as dies on printed circuit boards, or integrated with a laser, driver, and control logic all within the same package. Power output, while less than EELs, is scalable by creating arrays of individual VCSELs.

Applications driving demand

A number of high-end smartphones from different suppliers (e.g., Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and OPPO) now incorporate VCSELs in 3D sensing applications, in front-facing (screen side) and/or world-facing sensors. Such mobile and consumer applications are the largest drivers for volume manufacturing of VCSELs, with a smaller yet growing demand from automotive and industrial markets. Market researchers forecast the global VCSEL market will grow at a CAGR of 17 to 31% over the next 5 years (Source: Yole Développement, VCSEL report, 2019)… Full article