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Conference Report

Magazine Feature
This article was originally featured in the edition:
Volume 30 Issue 4

CS International: New vectors for the VCSEL


The VCSEL is assured of a promising future, with growth in established markets to continue alongside success in new applications.


What’s the dream of every chipmaker? It surely focuses around winning sales in growing, established markets. However, as any particular market may raise and fall, device makers will ideally increase revenue in large and existing markets while pursuing lucrative opportunities in new applications.

Based on a handful of presentations at this year’s CS International, held in Brussels on 16-17 April, this envious state-of-affairs is being enjoyed by makers of the VCSEL. According to Ali Jaffal, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Group, established markets related to datacomms and smartphones will continue to grow over the coming years, during which time sales will increase in other areas. New opportunities for the VCSEL exist at slightly longer wavelengths that are approaching the ‘eye-safe’ domain, a topic outlined by Julien Boucart, Senior Director Product Management at Coherent, and there are plans to deploy VCSELs to significantly cut the energy associated with the production of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), an idea championed by Roman Koerner, CTO of Trumpf Photonic Components.

As well as looking at what lies ahead, Jaffal provided some history of the commercial success of the VCSEL. He pointed out that communication applications provided the main driver for this surface emitter from its commercial launch in the mid 1990s until 2017, when Apple started to use this class of laser for face identification and proximity sensing. Strong uptake of this consumer application fuelled a hike in demand for the VCSEL, with production migrating from 100 mm to 150 mm GaAs-based wafers. Jaffal added: “For those of you wondering about 8-inch GaAs diameters, that’s basically for microLEDs.”