20 February 2020
Vixar unveils 10W VCSEL chip for 3D sensing
At Photonics West 2020 in San Francisco in early February, Vixar Inc of Plymouth, MN, USA (a subsidiary of Osram GmbH of Munich, Germany) expanded its vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chip portfolio by introducing a higher-power 10W 940nm-wavelength chip with greater efficiency, aimed at 3D sensing applications.
The product can allow customers to use just a single chip, instead of a subassembly incorporating multiple VCSEL chips, yielding reduced overall size and lower costs. The 10W VCSEL chip is a suitable fit for industrial applications such as mapping, automatic guided vehicles and mobile robots.
VCSELs combine the properties of two lighting technologies: high power density and simple packaging of an infrared LED (IRED) with the spectral width and speed of a laser. Also, unlike Fabry-Perot laser diodes, the VCSEL’s spectral shift with temperature is four times less, making it more compatible with the filters used in 3D cameras.
Because of their advantages — including superior beam quality, excellent focusing and a very small footprint — VCSELs are quickly finding their way into consumer applications such as 3D cameras and facial recognition for mobile devices, as well as proximity sensors to detect the presence of nearby objects. The technology can also enable gesture recognition in gaming systems and greater situational awareness for augmented and virtual reality systems.
“Customers want a chip that is perfectly matched to their power requirements, without having to use multiple chips in a single application,” says Vixar’s co-founder & CEO Mary Hibbs-Brenner. “Our new 10W VCSEL maintains power efficiency in a compact package, so customers don’t have to worry about compromised performance or too high thermal loads. They can now build powerful, streamlined and cost-effective applications with a single VCSEL chip.”
The 10W chip comes in a compact size of 1.94mm x 1.94mm and offers low thermal impedance. It also features a pad layout for a low-inductance driving design and has a wall-plug efficiency of up to 40% at 60°C, despite the chip’s compact size and high operating temperature. In addition, the chip operates at up to 10 times the optimum power, which increases the distance measured.
The 940nm chip is available immediately, and an 850nm version will be available later this year.