Country/region and language selection

Industrial sensors with versatile VCSEL laser solutions

Industrial sensors use VCSEL technology for a wide variety of applications in demanding environments and under extreme conditions. The advantages are the high performance and cost efficiency.

Modern VCSEL technology for industrial sensors in demanding environments

VCSEL arrays are used in various production, manufacturing and automation environments, including smart sensors such as pressure sensors, temperature sensors and Industry 4.0 solutions. They are available as highly efficient, easy-to-install solutions in hermetically sealed TO housing and are also suitable for harsh environments. In the industrial sensor market, VCSELs are also advancing various other types of sensors and 3D sensors. These include level sensors, gas sensors, image sensors, flow sensors, position sensors, distance sensors, humidity sensors and automation sensors. Many other sensors used in high-tech applications such as 3D imaging, industrial robot components, surveillance or predictive maintenance also benefit from VCSEL sensor technology.

Why use VCSEL lasers for industrial sensors?

VCSEL lasers are reliable and high-performance light sources for industrial sensor applications. Single-mode VCSELs in TO housing are perfect for demanding industrial environments. They are versatile, inexpensive and easy to integrate into manufacturing processes.

Made for demanding and harsh conditions

VCSELs are available in hermetically sealed TO housing. They are extremely resistant to damage, even in the most demanding industrial production environments.

Precise control

VCSELs in TO housing are also available with an integrated TEC and thermistor for precise control of the laser temperature.

Available in different wavelengths

Versatile industrial sensor solutions with wavelengths from 760 nm to 940 nm are available for a variety of application requirements.

Low power

The single-mode VCSEL platform is designed for extremely low power consumption and high output power.

Together with TRUMPF we developed a new robust optical 3D sensor for speed and distance measurement. Thanks to the VCSEL approach our customers can now solve measurement tasks for which there was previously no suitable sensor technology. This is also exciting because the non-contact process can be adapted to specific needs very easily via software.

Heiko Krebs
Senior Vice President Product Management, SICK AG

Contact us!

Our industrial sensor experts at TRUMPF are there for you. We look forward to discussing your specific requirements.

Request consultation

Where is VCSEL technology used for industrial sensor solutions?

Industrial sensor technology offers a variety of application fields for non-contact laser measurement technology, such as oxygen measurement, industrial encoders, atomic clocks, speed, depth and distance measurement as well as proximity measurement in various types of machines.

Oxygen measurement and gas sensor systems

Optical sensors can use VCSEL technology to measure particles in the environment. Single-mode VCSELs are excellent for TDLAS applications (Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy). The narrow line width and precise control with TEC make the single-mode VCSEL a good choice for TDLAS systems. Areas of application include monitoring, control and pressure measurement in various industrial environments such as the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Schematische Zeichnung eines FTIR Spektrometers
FTIR spectrometer

FTIR, or Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, offers fast optical infrared measurements with good signal quality. Temperature-stabilized single-mode VCSELs are well-suited for FITR since they exhibit a low temperature dependence of the emission wavelength (0.06 nm/K). In addition, the typical narrow-band spectral emission of 100 MHz supports the requirements of FTIR applications.


Optical encoders require high-precision signals and reliability under demanding operating conditions. Single-mode, polarization-locked VCSEL solutions are the right device for this task because of their Gaussian beam profile, low power input, long coherence length, and excellent reliability.

Speed and distance measurement

A variety of industrial processes use speed and distance measurement for precise and reliable non-contact measurement of objects. These include cut length measurement, speed control in roll-to-roll processes or in printing (textiles, non-wovens, etc.). Self-mixing interference (SMI) VCSELs are perfectly suited for this. In VCSELs with integrated photodiodes (ViP), the photodiode measures the interference of the light signal and the system calculates the speed of the movement based on the frequency difference. The sensor directly detects the speed and direction, and indirectly detects the position and expansion of the part.

Beispielbild für Partikelsensorik
Particle sensors

Small particles with sizes between 0.5 and 10 µm can be detected with high precision in real time using VCSEL-based sensors. The small laser diodes are easy to integrate into modules and systems and are maintenance-free. Dirt or sunlight are not problematic for the VCSEL sensors, and VCSEL-based solutions can be used both indoors and outdoors. 
VCSELs with integrated photodiodes (ViP) enable the self-mixing inference (SMI) measurement method, so that the sensor is the light source and can simultaneously also further process reflected light. 

VCSEL Insights: Measure air quality in real time and with high precision using the Bosch Sensortec BMV080

You may also find these topics interesting

Optical sensing technology for consumer, industrial and automotive applications

Optical sensing technology is widely used in consumer electronics, industrial sensing and automotive or other applications such as IoT. VCSELs can be a cost-effective, versatile and highly reliable light source to support advanced technologies needed for (3D) sensing applications using optical sensors.

The success story of SICK AG

Find out how SICK AG – the specialist for industrial sensor solutions – is making contactless measuring a reality for mass production in production systems with VCSEL diodes from TRUMPF.

Industrial VCSEL Solutions (TO Packages)

VCSELs in a hermetically sealed TO housing allow easy handling of the laser diode and are suitable for operation in demanding ambient conditions. 

Industry management TRUMPF Photonic Components
Service & contact