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INDUSTRY VCSELs


One emerging application that could swell VCSEL sales is gesture recognition – this could be used for gaming and non- contact navigation. This class of laser could also be used in depth imaging for 3D vision, using ‘time-of-flight’ technology. In addition to these consumer applications, VCSEL deployment is set to rise in industry as chip volumes increase and devices offer greater performance at lower cost (see Figure 6). This surface-emitting laser may be used for highly efficient, digital thermal processing. Examples of this are high efficiency production-line heating, paint curing and ink finishing in commercial printing.


On top of this, it is possible for VCSELs to find deployment in illumination for IR cameras for security, safety and night vision; ultra-high density magnetic storage using heat-assisted magnetic recording, and cosmetics and healthcare devices. There are clearly many opportunities for the VCSEL, and shipments will rise as deployments increase in data centres, and then extend to other applications. Initially, it will be the speed and efficiency of this class of laser that will drive its uptake, but there will then come a time when it is power density at low cost that is responsible for the mass adoption of the VCSEL across multiple end markets.


Advances in the manufacturing process will have to underpin this growth of VCSEL volumes. The groundwork is already being laid, as production moves to larger wafers, using


Laser priniting is a promising application for high-power VCSELs


processes that are similar to those employed in the LED and silicon CMOS industries. It is only a matter of time, therefore, before the VCSEL becomes a mainstream product serving myriad applications.


£ The authors wish to express their gratitude to James Lott from the Technical University of Berlin for his contribution to the work and this article.


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Copyright Compound Semiconductor October 2014 www.compoundsemiconductor.net 39


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