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Apple outlines use of one billion Trumpf laser components in iPhones

16 May 2023

Used in proximity sensor to turn off display automatically when phone held to ear.

Trumpf Photonic Components, a developer of VCSEL and photodiode solutions for consumer and industrial sensing applications, has this week been highlighted as a key supplier by consumer tech giant Apple for the latter’s work supporting the proximity sensor in iPhone.

Trumpf’s components have long been used for a number of Apple products.In one deployment example, the proximity sensor for iPhone turns off the screen when it detects an object that is close by — such as when a user holds iPhone up to their ear — saving power and preventing inadvertent touches.

“We have already shipped over one billion of our VCSELs to Apple. It’s great to see that our components are widely used in everyday life and enable great experiences,” commented Berthold Schmidt, CEO at Trumpf Photonic Components.

“This success points out the huge potential of our VCSEL technology. Therefore, we plan to further expand our production site in Ulm with about 750 square meters within the next year, to guarantee high-volume, high-end manufacturing of laser components for our customers,” Schmidt added.

Trumpf has already invested more than 40 million euros into the high-end facility since they took over the business in 2019. Further investments to be made within the next five years will amount to tens of millions of euros, depending on project developments.

Other Apple supplier activities

Besides its Trumpf partnership announcement, Apple also stated this week that its spend with European suppliers has increased more than 50 percent since 2018, totaling €85 billion over the past five years and more than €20 billion in 2022 alone.

The investments are said to reach more than 4,000 European suppliers and support cutting-edge innovations that can be found in every product Apple makes, from sensors in Apple Watch, to lasers in iPhone, to microcontrollers in Mac computers.

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor company with roots in France and Italy, develops and manufactures chips that contribute to the performance and efficiency of Apple devices. For many years, ST has worked with Apple on sensors, power management, and wireless integrated circuits for iPhone and other Apple products.

STMicroelectronics employs more than 27,000 workers across its European operations, and is investing more than €3.5 billion in 2023 to increase its manufacturing capacity globally, including in France and Italy, where it also manufactures components for Apple devices.

Austrian chip manufacturer ams is another European companies to join Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program. Companies such as DSM Engineering Materials in the Netherlands, Infineon in Germany and Austria, and Solvay in Belgium are supporting a range of renewable energy solutions, such as wind projects and onsite solar and innovative structures like virtual power purchase agreements.

LASEROPTIK GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.LaCroix Precision OpticsHyperion OpticsCeNing Optics Co LtdUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation
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