9 March 2021
IQE reaches milestones with IQDN-VCSELs for long-wavelength sensing on 150mm GaAs
Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says that it has achieved key power and reliability milestones for its IQDN-VCSEL vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser technology for advanced sensing applications at longer wavelengths (1100-1600nm) on 150mm gallium arsenide (GaAs) substrates. IQE is currently supplying wafers to tier-1 partners and collaborating with them to refine the technology for next-generation advanced sensing applications.
Currently, the longest achievable wavelength for GaAs-based VCSEL technology is limited to wavelengths of ~1100nm. It is desirable to increase this to >=1380nm, allowing the technology to be applied to below-screen (BOLED) consumer applications such as facial recognition systems for mobile devices. There is significant customer demand for technologies like these because they enable new applications and improve device performance while at the same time reducing cost, says IQE. Additionally, the move to longer wavelengths can make it even simpler to safely deliver emerging technologies, such as light detection & ranging (LiDAR) for automotive applications.
IQE has addressed demand for a 150mm GaAs-based long-wavelength VCSEL with its IQDN-VCSEL technology. IQE has demonstrated that this dilute-nitride-based technology delivers VCSELs with ~1mW per emitter, each having more than several hundred hours of reliability. This has met the development requirements for multiple tier-1 3D sensing customers. Because IQDN-VCSEL is based on the GaAs materials system, it offers a longer-wavelength ‘drop in’ solution for IQE’s customers, enabling them to use the same equipment and processes that were developed for shorter wavelengths to achieve longer wavelengths.
IQE is currently engaged in customer-funded development programs with key tier-1 customers to refine the technology for qualification in future 3D sensing applications. Coupled with its IQGeVCSEL 150 technology, IQE says that it has demonstrated a path to the volume manufacture of long-wavelength VCSELs on 150mm and ultimately 200mm substrates.
“IQE has been able to rapidly develop an offering that exceeds what was previously possible, and our partner engagements are a testament to the potential for this technology for next-generation 3D sensing applications,” says chief technology officer Dr Rodney Pelzel. “IQDN-VCSEL technology is a key component of a unique VCSEL portfolio that enables IQE’s customers to serve a diverse range of high-volume market opportunities.”