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Apple's TrueDepth Camera uses VCSEL Lasers and two of their Patents for this Technology were Published Today



The key to the success of the iPhone X is in its TrueDepth Camera that uses VCSEL lasers used in 3D Sensing for Face ID. Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Invests in new Finisar Plant coming to Texas that will make Critical VCSEL Lasers for 3D Sensing Face ID & More." While other companies may be satisfied to take off-the-shelf parts for their smartphones, Apple doesn't always do that. Today we're able to see the proof of that with a pair of VCSEL laser patent applications from Apple surfacing at the US Patent & Trademark Office.


Apple's patent covers their invention that generally relates to semiconductor devices, and particularly to optoelectronic devices by means of improving an array of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL-arrays) and their manufacture.


VCSEL-arrays that are known in the art typically comprise anywhere from a few to hundreds of individual VCSELs, built with standard epitaxial techniques on a GaAs or other semiconductor substrate. The angular beam divergence of a VCSEL-array is typically, determined by the beam divergence of the individual VCSELs. In several applications of VCSEL-arrays it is advantageous to increase the angular beam divergence beyond that provided by the array itself.


Embodiments of the present invention provide cost-effective methods for increasing the angular beam divergence, as well as arrays of VCSELs implementing such methods. The methods are based on integrating a diffuser onto the top surface of the VCSEL-array by a direct extension of the manufacturing process of the VCSEL-array itself.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 presented as our cover graphic above is a schematic illustration of a VCSEL-array with an integrated diffuser.


If you're an engineer in this field you'll be able to follow the technical aspects of Apple's inventions that are found in their patent applications 20170370554 and 20170370554.


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