LiDAR is a key technology in the development of autonomous vehicles. In combination with radar and camera systems, it acts as the vision of the car that capture the surroundings. LiDAR, short for Light Detection and Ranging, uses infrared light to create a precise, three-dimensional map of the environment. The better this visual information, the easier it is for the downstream systems to use it. Up to now, the infrared lasers used for this purpose have deviations in wavelength stability of up to 40 nanometers as temperature in the component rises. As a result, the LiDAR system’s “vision” was a bit blurred. A novel chip design from Osram now reduces the wavelength shift to just ten nanometers, enabling much clearer and sharper images of the surroundings.
Thanks to the newly developed chip design, edge-emitting lasers can match and even exceed the wavelength stability of VCSELs at operating temperatures of up to 125°C typical for automotive applications. This technological milestone in the development of infrared lasers allows the use of a much smaller wavelength filter on the detector – which significantly improves the signal-to-noise ratio. This technological advance has already been demonstrated in components with “triple-junctions,” e.g. three light-emitting surfaces stacked one on top of the other. In future, it will be used in all Osram infrared lasers and offer enormous advantages to LiDAR system manufacturers.
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