High-technology company TRUMPF and optics innovator Metalenz showcased live demonstration of illumination for smartphone applications at Photonics West // Consumer electronic devices need less than half components for illumination applications // VCSEL with stable polarization leads to 100 percent efficiency
TRUMPF Photonic Components, a global leader in VCSEL and photodiode solutions, presented at Photonics West a live showcase on VCSEL with controlled polarization for illumination applications. TRUMPF builds on more than 15 years of experience in the production of polarization-stabilizing gratings. Together with Metalenz, a Boston based pioneer in designing and commercializing meta-optics, TRUMPF demonstrated how next generation consumer electronic devices benefit from smaller and smarter components.
Both companies demonstrated that with their new components, in future only half or even less optical components are needed to support bright, 3D scene illumination of smartphone cameras. Not only the amount of components, but also space between components can be reduced. Smartphone manufacturers can get a high technical competitive advantage from these compact components that lead to a smaller building space.
Multiple functions integrated in one VCSEL chip
The showcase at Photonics West demonstrated how to easily switch between two illumination patterns using limited amount of optical components. By using a VCSEL with stable and advanced linear polarization and putting meta-optics on top of the VCSEL, only two smart components are needed to create both the function of flood illumination as well as the structured light illumination.
The next generation of polarized VCSEL
TRUMPF has developed the patented technology of VCSELs with stable polarization, which is locked by a surface grating, that is directly etched into the GaAs. Polarized VCSELs achieve almost 100 percent of the efficiency compared to standard VCSELs, what refers to a slope efficiency of 1 W/A. The high quality is based on TRUMPF own designs and processes to realize extremely low losses. The design of the VCSEL can come with a single mesa or as an array. “With our development of polarized VCSELs we are addressing demanding 3D illumination applications not only in smartphones, but also in OLED screens or in virtual reality and augmented reality applications. Market release of our next generation, advanced polarized VCSEL is intended to be in 2023“, says Berthold Schmidt, CEO at TRUMPF Photonic Components. “Working together with Metalenz enables us to visualize the promising solution for illumination within smartphone devices”, says Schmidt. Not only the form factor and the optical system complexity can be reduced by the next generation of VCSEL in combination with the right optics, but also the illumination quality is improved by the controlled light. The laser light is only projected to where it is needed, therefore, the resolution is increased, even for longer distances, and overall power savings can be reached. The laser components in a smartphone can be used for illumination applications such as face recognition, 3D mapping or camera autofocus.
“Together with the VCSEL from TRUMPF we show how two leading edge technologies can revolutionize the technical standards in smartphones for light illumination”, says Carlos Calvo, Vice President of Product at Metalenz. “We are happy to demonstrate the high quality in illumination together with TRUMPF. The laser diodes and our meta-optic technology are a perfect complement”, Calvo adds.
About TRUMPF Photonic Components
TRUMPF Photonic Components is a global technology leader, supplying VCSEL and photodiode solutions for consumer electronics, datacom, automotive, industrial sensing and heating markets. More than two billion VCSEL chips and photodiodes has been shipped worldwide so far. The employees continue to drive the technological know-how that has been established for over 20 years now in order to maintain its leadership position. The long-established technology was acquired by TRUMPF in 2019. The company has its headquarters in Ulm, Germany, with further sales locations in the Netherlands, China, Korea and the US.
TRUMPF Photonic Components belongs to the TRUMPF Group, a high-technology company that offers production solutions in the machine tool and laser sectors. TRUMPF is the world technological and market leader for machine tools used in flexible sheet metal processing, and also for industrial lasers and metal 3D printing. In 2020/21, the company employed some 14,800 people and generated sales of about 3.5 billion euros. With over 80 subsidiaries, the TRUMPF Group is represented in nearly every European country as well as in North America, South America and Asia. The company has production facilities in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United States, Mexico and China. For more information, visit www.trumpf.com/s/VCSEL-solutions.