Apple investing in Finisar to drive VCSEL technology

December 14, 2017 //By Rich Pell
Apple investing in Finisar to drive VCSEL technology
Apple (Cupertino, CA) has announced that it is investing $390 million in optical communications products maker Finisar (Sunnyvale, CA) for a new advanced manufacturing plant.

The investment – the second from Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund - will be used by Finisar to convert a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas into a high-tech facility developing vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chips. VCSELs – semiconductor laser diodes that emit a highly efficient optical beam vertically from their top surface - are used in numerous applications, including gesture recognition and 3D sensing, optical sensors, and data communications, among others.

Apple uses VCSELs to enable features such as Face ID, Animoji, and Portrait mode selfies with the iPhone X TrueDepth camera, as well as proximity sensing capability with its AirPods. According to Apple, its rapid adoption of depth-sensing technology in recent years has led to the development and production of the most advanced VCSELs used in the history of consumer electronics.

“VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we've ever developed and we're thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable," says Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse."

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