The company did not indicate whether that would include and increase in wafer diameter or simply the installaton of more machine. Nor did the company say how much it expects to spend on the upgrade. Demand is being driven by the adoption of facial recognition technology in consumer smartphones and increased adoption of optical interconnects in data centers, Philips said.
Global revenues for the VCSEL market currently stand at several hundred million USD, and are predicted to increase to $3.5 billion by 2023, largely driven by sharp growth in consumer technology applications, according to Yole Developpement.
"We are seeing very strong levels of interest from the consumer electronics sector, and we expect this to continue in the coming years as more manufacturers adopt facial recognition technology in their new smartphone models," said Joseph Pankert, general manager of Philips Photonics, in a statement.
Philips acquired Ulm Photonics in 2006 and moved from R&D to pilot production in Ulm and at sites in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Aachen, Germany. In 2014 a 4-inch wafer line was funded by Germany's Budesministerium fur Bildung and Forschung (BMBF) and the European Union under the VIDAP program leading to volume production in 2016.