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 10-25.degree., 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.
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