Osram Acquires VCSEL Maker Vixar to Strengthen Portfolio for Security Applications

Osram has added to its expertise in semiconductor-based optical security technology by acquiring US-based Vixar Inc. Already a technology leader in infrared LEDs and infrared laser diodes, Osram will have a unique breadth of technological expertise and an expanded product portfolio after bringing on board Vixar’s specialist capabilities in the field of VCSEL.

(Source: OSRAM)

While currently known primarily for identification applications in mobile devices, VCSEL also can be used to recognize gestures and measure distances in medical, industrial, and automotive applications.

Vixar was founded by pioneers in the VCSEL industry, having first brought VCSEL to the data communication market in the late 1990s, and more recently by founding Vixar in 2005 to pursue sensing applications.

Approximately 20 employees of the company, which is based in Plymouth, Minnesota, will transfer to Osram as a result of the acquisition. Vixar is profitable both on an operational and net results level. The parties to the deal have agreed not to disclose financial details. Closing of the transaction is expected in summer.

“The acquisition of Vixar is adding to our expertise, particularly in the fast-growing market for security technologies,” said Olaf Berlien, CEO of OSRAM Licht AG. Osram is a technology leader in infrared optical semiconductors and has already succeeded in bringing to market light sources for fingerprint sensors, iris scanners, and 2D facial recognition. The acquired capabilities will pave the way for further security technologies, including ultra-compact 3D facial recognition. In addition to unlocking smartphones and other consumer electronics devices, such technologies also can be used for highsecurity access controls in industry. 

The way in which VCSEL technology captures 3D environmental data has applications in everything from gesture recognition, augmented reality, robotics, and proximity sensors to autonomous driving.

VCSEL stands for vertical cavity surface emitting laser and is a special type of laser diode in which the light is emitted perpendicular to the surface of the semiconductor chip. Vixar is a fabless semiconductor company, and has developed a robust volume supply chain consisting of merchant foundries serving the optoelectronic market. Osram’s depth and breadth of semiconductor experience will further strengthen the manufacturing capabilities for the rapidly growing VCSEL market.

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