31 January 2018
Finisar demos VCSEL technology for 3D depth-sensing applications
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
In booth #4053 at the SPIE Photonics West 2018 trade show in San Francisco (30 January - 1 February), fiber-optic communications component and subsystem maker Finisar Corp of Sunnyvale, CA, USA is present with several demonstrations and product displays.
Finisar is demonstrating vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays used in depth-sensing applications such as 3D facial recognition in consumer mobile devices. The firm is also introducing a new high-speed photodetector and demonstrating WaveSource Programmable Laser technology from its test & measurement portfolio.
VCSEL technology offers advantages of superior performance over a large temperature range with a small footprint compared with traditional edge-emitting lasers, as well as high optical efficiency and fast response compared with LEDs. The technology has enabled many new applications including 3D facial recognition, augmented reality, automotive in-cabin sensing and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) for autonomous vehicles, using both structured light and time-of-flight (ToF) depth-sensing techniques.
Finisar’s expertise in VCSEL technology stems from its roots with Honeywell when the technology was first commercialized in 1996. VCSEL reference designs will be released later this year.
“The adoption of VCSEL technology by the most successful companies in the world is extremely exciting, and, as the broadest-based optical company, Finisar is in the best position to capitalize on the opportunity,” reckons Todd Swanson, executive VP of sales, marketing, and R&D. “With VCSEL advantages of superior performance and high optical efficiency, we have opened the doors to new market opportunities, specifically in consumer and automotive, that will transform security and safety.”
New photodetector for high-power applications
Finisar has introduced a new member of its high-speed photodetector product family. The 20GHz Ultra-high RF Power Detector features what is claimed to be the highest RF output power on the market for devices with a similar operating frequency. With ultra-high RF output power and uncooled operation, the product is said to open up new applications areas.
Typical applications include radio over fiber, analog photonic links, and microwave photonics. The device is based on an MUTC (Modified Uni-Traveling Carrier) photodetector chip capable of delivering up to 23dBm RF output power, and enables cost savings for the end-user by removing the need for expensive and power-hungry RF amplifiers, says Finisar.
WaveSource technology demonstration
Finisar also has a demonstration of its WaveSource Programmable Laser, which provides highly accurate wavelength scans as might be required in sensor systems and in optical component testing. Designed specifically for system integration as well as for applications in the optical lab, it covers the entire C-band and provides a high scanning speed beyond 300nm/s. The WaveSource Programmable Laser is demonstrated as part of a Terahertz Spectrometer System that has been set up in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin, Germany.