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17 November 2016

Philips Photonics to double VCSEL production capacity in Ulm

Philips Photonics of Ulm, Germany (a wholly owned business of Royal Philips of Eindhoven, The Netherlands) is doubling capacity at its laser diode facility to provide the key components for some of the latest developments in data communication, consumer sensing, and industrial thermal processing.

Since its establishment in 2000 as ULM Photonics GmbH and its acquisition by Philips in 2006, the facility in Ulm has grown significantly, with staffing rising from 50 in 2012 to 200 in 2016. The latest expansion, with a new production line featuring automation, reflects the huge potential of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) in many applications, says the firm. Completion is planned for the end of 2017.

VCSEL diodes are key components in a growing number of consumer and industrial applications, including sensing of 3D objects in autonomous vehicles; PC 'mice'; industrial sensors and control functions; driver assist systems; ultra-fast data transmission in data centers and servers; and providing distance and gesture recognition in mobile phones.

"Over the past few years, we have invested steadily in research, product development and efficient manufacturing processes," says general manager Dr Joseph Pankert. "Today, our products are widely used in data centers, smartphones and a number of industrial applications," he adds. "The sharp rise in demand for VCSELs is a key factor in our capacity expansion at Ulm, and will enable us to respond to the needs of these rapidly growing markets."

Semiconductor lasers have been developed and manufactured at the facility in Ulm since 2000. The firm has pioneered innovations such as VCSEL arrays (now widely used for time-of-flight and 3D depth imaging). In 2014, the company made the significant step to highly automated manufacturing with the launch of its existing 4-inch production facility, within the framework of the 'VIDAP' project, jointly sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Union (EU).

Tags: VCSELs

Visit: www.photonics.philips.com

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