Ulis invests in EUR 20 million facility to enter high-volume IR markets

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Ulis, a manufacturer of infrared (IR) imaging sensors, has made a €20 million investment in a state-of-the-art facility, coinciding with the company's ten-year anniversary.

Jean-François Delepau, managing director at Ulis, commented: ‘The investment will go a long way in boosting our penetration into emerging high-volume market areas, such as automotive and low-resolution sensors, and in giving us a substantial lead. Thanks to the new facility, our customers will greatly benefit from the new advances in the performance of our IR sensors, giving their IR products a competitive edge in the highly price-sensitive commercial market.’

Ulis plans to introduce a series of low cost IR sensors fabricated in the new facility. These high volume, low cost IR sensors will use new packaging techniques, such as Pixel Level and Wafer Level Packaging technologies (PLP and WLP). PLP and WLP technologies involve packaging an IR chip at wafer level rather than using the traditional method of assembling the package of each individual chip after wafer dicing.

The new facility will also allow Ulis to move production from 150mm silicon CMOS wafers to the advanced 200mm silicon CMOS wafer. In doing so, the company will introduce a new product line aimed at filling a gap in the supply for low image resolution IR sensors needed by applications such as enhancing energy efficiency of heating/cooling systems or detecting people, among others.

Jean–Luc Tissot, technical director at Ulis, said: ‘The new facility will give Ulis access to an advanced class of CMOS and packaging technologies that we’ll be able to exploit, without interrupting production of our existing pro and elite product lines.’

The shift to 200mm CMOS wafers will mean that the company will have a greater capacity to integrate additional functions onto its IR chips. This could include adding more memory for voltage reading, for example, so that less tuning is required. By integrating functions, Ulis foresees it will make IR technology simpler and more accessible for imaging system designers and camera makers to adopt in commercial applications.

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