3D depth sensing & VCSEL technology surges: Key takeaways from SEMI Member Forum

By Emmy Yi, SEMI Taiwan


Since Apple unveiled iPhone X with face-recognition functionality in early November 2017, interest in 3D sensing technology has reached fever pitch and attracted huge investments across the related supply chains. The global market for 3D depth sensing is estimated at US$1.5 billion in 2017 and will grow at a CAGR of 209 percent to US$14 billion in 2020, Trendforce estimates. This trend pushes up demand for Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL), a key component for 3D depth sensing technology. SEMI estimates that the global VCSEL market will grow at a CAGR of 17.3 percent between 2016 and 2022, and the total value of the market is expected to reach US$1 billion by 2022.

This SEMI 3D Depth Sensing & VCSEL Technology Seminar attracted more than 600 industry experts.

This SEMI 3D Depth Sensing & VCSEL Technology Seminar attracted more than 600 industry experts.

In light of the significant market growth potential and business opportunities, SEMI Taiwan recently organized the 3D Depth Sensing & VCSEL Technology Seminar, where industry experts from Qualcomm, Lumentum, Himax, Vertilite and IQE gathered to explore the technology trends and potentials from different perspectives. Following are the key takeaways from the Forum:

Not just iPhoneX! Expect a boom in 3D depth sensing

The real-time and depth cue feature of the 3D sensor is essential to enable the next-generation computer vision (CV) applications. Improvements in 3D recognition, machine learning, and 3D image segmentation promise to stoke significant growth across a wide range of applications including long-range automotive LiDAR, short-distance AR/VR devices, facial recognition in the low-light environment inside a car and more.


Improvements in component R&D, algorithm writing, and supply chain integration will further expand the 3D sensing market.


Structured light and time of flight (TOF) are currently the two key approaches to 3D sensing, and VCSEL is the core light source for both technologies. VCSEL’s advantages of small footprint, low cost, low power consumption, circular beam shape, optical efficiency, wavelength stability over temperature and high modulating rate are all indispensable for 3D sensing to flourish. In the longer term, improvements in component R&D, algorithm writing, and supply chain integration will further expand the 3D sensing market.

Optimistic about the proliferation of 3D sensing applications, The SEMI Taiwan Power and Compound Semiconductor Committee plans to organize a special interest group to better respond to technology evolution and rising applications of the emerging optoelectronic semiconductor and to drive innovations and development of the industry. SEMICON Taiwan 2018 will also include a theme pavilion and a series of events to enable more communications and collaborations. To learn more, please contact Emmy Yi, SEMI Taiwan, at eyi@semi.org or +886.3.560.1777 #205.


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