Philips Photonics-led European consortium successfully completes VCSEL project, unlocking growth potential for manufacturers

27 september 2017

Philips Photonics reaches production milestone of 700 Million VCSELs, projecting another doubling of capacity by early 2018
Advancements will help unlock the potential of new solutions, such as high speed data communication, 3D recognition and automotive Lidar
Global revenues for the VCSEL market are expected to swell to $1 billion in 2022

Ulm, GermanyPhilips Photonics, global leader in VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers) technology solutions for data communications, consumer and industrial applications, today announced the successful completion of its ‘VIDaP’ project (VCSEL Pilot Line for Illumination, Datacom and Power Applications), a €23 million project jointly sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the EU, and executed under the umbrella of the European ECSEL program.

Since its inception in 2014, the project has focused on making significant advancements in highly automated manufacturing, bringing VCSEL production to the same level of maturity as the LED industry. Philips Photonics led the project. Other partners were IQE Ltd, STMicroelectronics, Sidel, SICK AG, Mellanox Technologies Ltd, and the Technical University of Eindhoven.

VCSELs are key components that drive and enable the advancement of numerous fast-growing digital technology markets. Global revenues for the VCSEL market currently stand at several hundred million, and are expected to swell to above $1billion in 2022.

Prior to the project, VCSELs were only manufactured in small quantities, with largely unautomated processes. Now, Philips and its consortium partners have successfully demonstrated the capability to manufacture VCSELs to the same standards as other high volume semiconductor components. The capability will help to unlock the potential of new solutions such as high speed data transmission, 3D recognition, optical sensors such as Lidar and digital industrial thermal processes, whilst significantly reducing the size of sensors and energy consumption in data centers and thermal industrial processes.

Following the announcement last year that Philips was expanding and doubling the capacity of its laser-diode facility in Ulm, Philips has produced a cumulative 700 Million VCSELs. This fast growth in demand has triggered follow-up investments that will lead to another doubling of capacity by early 2018. The expansion of the facility in Ulm is also on track to be completed by the end of 2017, as scheduled.

“With the digital revolution firmly underway, the market need for VCSELs is rapidly accelerating. Anticipating this demand, over the past few years we have invested consistently in research, product development and efficient manufacturing processes,” said Joseph Pankert, General Manager, Philips Photonics. “Today, our products are widely used in data centers, smartphones and a number of industrial applications, with the advancements brought about by the project helping to secure Philips a leading European position in this growing segment of optoelectronics.”

Notes to editors:

● 2006 -
Ulm Photonics acquired by Philips. Intensification of research and development for further application possibilities
● 2008 -
Inauguration of Philips Photonics' first cleanroom in Ulm. Further locations in Aachen (Germany) and Eindhoven (the Netherlands). A sales center for the Asia-Pacific market is based in Shanghai (China)
● 2014 -
Launch of the 4-inch automatic production facility, funded by the BMBF and the EU under the VIDAP program
● 2016 -
Mass shipments of VCSEL to the smart phone industry
● 2016 -
Ground breaking ceremony for further expansion of production capacities. Planned completion end 2017
For further information, please contact:
Mark Groves
Philips Innovation & Strategy
Tel: +31 631 639 916

About Royal Philips
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

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