Philips and IQE to make lasers a mass-market product by 2022

27 September 2017

Cardiff, 27 September 2017: IQE plc (AIM:  IQE, “IQE” or the “Group”), the leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductor wafer products for the global semiconductor industry, and Philips have 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.

The VIDaP consortium, led by Philips, and whose partners include IQE, STMicroelectronics SAS, Sidel, Sick AG, Mellanox Technologies Ltd, and the Technical University of Eindhoven, was formed in May 2014 to establish a pan-European supply chain capability for the high volume production of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) for infrared illumination, data communications, gesture recognition and industrial heating applications. The project has focused on making a significant advancement in highly automated manufacturing, bringing VCSEL manufacturing to the same level of maturity as the LED industry.

VCSELs are key components that drive and enable the advancement of numerous fast growing markets at the forefront of the Digital Revolution. These encompass the industries of data transmission, 3d recognition, optical sensors such as Lidar, and 3D printing. Global revenues for the VCSEL market currently stand at a few hundreds of millions and is expected to swell to above $1billion in 2022.

Prior to the project, VCSELs were only manufactured in small quantities, with largely non-automized processing. 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 high-speed data transmission, 3D recognition, Lidar and digital industrial thermal processes, whilst significantly reducing 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.

Dr. Joseph Pankert, General Manager, Philips Photonics added:

"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.

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 the leading European position in this growing segment of opto-electronics.”


IQE plc, UK +44 (0) 29 2083 9400
Chris Meadows (Press/investors)

Note to Editors

About IQE

IQE is the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafers with products that cover a diverse range of applications, supported by an innovative outsourced foundry services portfolio that allows the Group to provide a 'one stop shop' for the wafer needs of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers. 
IQE uses advanced crystal growth technology (epitaxy) to manufacture and supply bespoke semiconductor wafers 'epi-wafers' to the major chip manufacturing companies, who then use these wafers to make the chips which form the key components of virtually all high technology systems. IQE is unique in being able to supply wafers using all of the leading crystal growth technology platforms.
IQE's products are found in many leading-edge consumer, communication, computing and industrial applications, including a complete range of wafer products for the wireless industry, such as mobile handsets and wireless infrastructure, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, base stations, GPS, and satellite communications; optical communications, optical storage, laser optical mouse, laser printers & photocopiers, thermal imagers, leading-edge medical products, barcode, ultra high brightness LEDs, a variety of advanced silicon based systems and high efficiency concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells.

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 2015 sales of EUR 16.8 billion and employs approximately 70,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

About Philips Photonics

Philips Photonics is a fast growing self-sustained business entity within Philips active in VCSELs. The company designs, manufactures, markets and sells VCSELs for all major mass markets, and in particular pioneered the introduction of VCSELs into smart phones. It operates in Ulm, Aachen and Eindhoven and Shanghai.