ULIS invests EUR 20 million in new infrared sensor facility

July 09, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
ULIS, a manufacturer of high quality infrared (IR) imaging sensors for thermography, security and surveillance, automotive and military applications, is investing EUR 20 million in a new state-of-the-art facility to meet increasing market demands for IR technology.

The investment coincides with the company's tenth anniversary celebrations.     

"Since ULIS' creation ten years ago, we have taken strategic technological and development steps to enable the company to capture more and more of the uncooled IR imaging market,” said Jean-François Delepau, managing director at ULIS. “We have always aimed to be at the forefront of new IR market developments. This EUR 20M investment in a new state-of-the art IR sensor facility is another major step in our growth. In particular, 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.”    

For the first time, ULIS will introduce to the market a series of low cost IR sensors through the new facility. The high-volume, low cost IR sensors will use new packaging technologies, 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. In addition to making the resulting packaged IR chip more compact and robust, it is a time-saving process.  

Equally important, the new facility will allow ULIS to move production from 150 mm silicon CMOS wafers to the advanced 200 mm silicon CMOS wafer. In doing so, ULIS 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.     

“The future in IR sensors will be towards greater integration and compactness. Over the last ten