Wafer firm IQE has started initial VCSEL production for a second major customer at the Newport Mega Foundry in Wales and further positive qualifications.
Initial production has now commenced with a second major customer, serving the Android supply chains, and several more are in advanced stages of qualification. Performance data from the Newport Foundry has exceeded previously attained performance levels, and several new qualifications are now in long term reliability testing.
As a result, IQE has signed a contract extension with one of its largest VCSEL customers, extending the current contract until the end of 2021. In addition, two other existing contracts have also been extended with several other new contracts in final negotiations.
VCSELs are a key component in multiple current and future 3D sensor systems, using both structured light and Time of Flight (ToF) technologies. Applications range from 3D Facial Identification (front facing) systems and world facing cameras on mobile handsets to LiDAR and in cabin sensing for autonomous drive vehicles, range-finding and 3D sensing systems for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.
Production volumes are expected to ramp strongly over the next few years as adoption across multiple mobile platforms and other use cases proliferate. In anticipation of such strong growth, IQE has invested heavily over the last two years in building the worlds’s largest VCSEL epi-wafer facility in Newport, UK (IQE’s Mega Epi Foundry). IQE is involved in multiple engagements across all of the aforementioned applications, and is currently qualifying more than a dozen volume customers at the Newport Mega Foundry.
Mark Furlong, executive VP, Global Business Development, Photonics and InfraRed commented: “The initiation of production for a second major customer at our Newport Mega Epi Foundry, is another important milestone in cementing Newport as the premier location globally for large scale, state of the art, VCSEL production. The availability of the large-scale production capacity which has been established over the last 18 months at Newport, and consequent improvement in production efficiency and performance, is highly valued by our customers as they address mass market adoption across multiple applications.”
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