LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar is poised to ship VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) chips used to China-based smartphone vendors through EMS provider Lite-On Technology's smartphone-use CCM (compact camera module) supply chain, according to industry sources.
Three new iPhone models to be launched in 2018 will be equipped with VCSEL-based 3D sensing functions and China-based smartphone vendors Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Xiaomi Technology are expected to adopt VCSEL-based 3D sensing technology as well, the sources said, adding 3-4 VCSEL chips are used in a smartphone for facial recognition and 6-7 units or even 10 units for adding other recognition functions.
For Epistar, manufacturing process for VCSEL epitaxial wafers is similar to that for AlGaInP LED epitaxial wafers, for both are MOCVD technology on wavelength of 850-940nm. Epistar has begun production of VCSEL epitaxial wafers using MOCVD sets originally used to produce 4-inch wafers. Epistar has remodeled some 4-inch MOCVD sets for producing 6-inch LED and VCSEL epitaxial wafers, with the remodeled MOCVD sets in certification process currently.
Epistar has begun shipping VCSEL chips used to make HDMI optical communication devices. Beginning third-quarter 2018, Epistar will use remodeled MOCVD sets to produce VCSEL chips for 3D sensors, flood illuminators, proximity sensors and ranging sensors. Epistar expects to begin supply of VCSEL chips for facial recognition sensors of wireless surveillance cameras in 2019.
GaAs- and InP-based epitaxial wafer maker LandMark Optoelectronics has started trial production of VCSEL epitaxial wafers and chips for four potential clients in second-quarter 2018, with production to begin in June. Visual Photonics Epitaxy has obtained certification for using 6-inch MOCVD sets to produce VCSEL chips for 3D sensors.