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CHAMPAIGN — The parent company of a Champaign manufacturer was awarded $410 million from Apple to improve its capacity to deliver future iPhone parts.

II-VI Inc., which bought Champaign-based EpiWorks in 2016, will receive the funds as part of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund.

According to a news release, the award will support 700 jobs in Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Champaign.

In 2017, II-VI received $390 million from Apple.

II-VI makes “vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers,” according to Apple, which help power Face ID, Memoji, Animoji and portrait mode selfies.

II-VI also makes lasers used in the LiDAR Scanner on certain iPad and iPhone models that powers better augmented reality and improves autofocus for low-light photography, according to Apple.

EpiWorks makes “epitaxial semiconductor wafers” in Champaign that are used in everything from cellphones to data centers.

“Everything from next generation 3D sensors that go into cell phones, LIDAR in cars and a multitude of other applications to high-speed optical chips that go into data centers,” co-founder David Ahmari said in 2017 as the company was finishing up an expansion of its northwest Champaign location.

EpiWorks was founded by University of Illinois graduates Ahmari and Quesnell Hartmann.


Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).

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