9 June 2020
Osram expands photonics portfolio with its first intelligent 3D sensing emitter module, using VCSEL for ToF applications
Germany’s Osram says that its first intelligent emitter module for 3D sensing allows smartphones to take high-quality images and videos with a staggered depth of field. In portrait shots, the person’s face remains in focus, while the background becomes blurred. Besides optimizing image content, the module can also be used for 3D object recognition or augmented reality (AR) apps.
Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have more functionalities than ever, so required components need to fit into ever smaller spaces. A central task for manufacturers has been to find the right emitters, photodiodes and vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) driver chips (ICs), then calibrate and install them in the end device. With the VCSEL-based module Bidos PLPVDC 940_P_L01 for time-of-flight (ToF) applications, Osram says that it has now reduced the need for manufacturers to perform many of these tasks.
The module features a black package, a 3W infrared VCSEL with a wavelength of 940nm, a matching optical system, an integrated intelligent microcontroller for driving the VCSEL, and a photodiode. Together, the individual components have a footprint of 3.6mm x 5.46mm.
Osram says that the efficiency of its own VCSEL technology ensures low power consumption, facilitating not only energy management but also integration of the component into the end device. The high optical power enables the acquisition of depth information by ToF technology at a distance of up to 7m. In addition to optimizing image content, users can also use the depth information for other functions in the smartphone, including 3D object recognition and augmented reality applications like games and interior design.
“As smartphone technology continues to become more sophisticated, we’re always looking for ways to make it easier for manufacturers to adopt these innovations without having to sacrifice space,” says Eric Kuerzel, senior global product marketing manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH of Regensburg, Germany. “With the Bidos PLPVDC 940_P_L01, smartphone manufacturers can provide their customers with more advanced photography features now, and also open up endless opportunities for 3D-based applications in the future.”
Also, for eye safety, special safety mechanisms have been integrated into the module. If the photodiode registers a change in the incidence of light – for example, if the optics are damaged after a fall – the current supply to the VCSEL is interrupted.