30 March 2020
AOI launches narrow-linewidth 1550nm eye-safe laser for automotive LiDAR
Applied Optoelectronics Inc (AOI) of Sugar Land, TX, USA – a designer and manufacturer of optical components, modules and equipment for fiber access networks in the Internet data-center, cable TV broadband, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and telecom markets – has released a high-power and narrow-linewidth laser (available for customer sampling immediately) designed specifically for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) applications, particularly for automotive use.
Existing automotive LiDAR systems are based on near-infrared lasers, but these are not eye-safe and are therefore limited in terms of emitted power, restricting the effective sensing range of the LiDAR system. AOI’s laser operates at longer wavelengths near 1550nm, where eye-safe emission limits are much higher and therefore detection distances are longer, making them better suited for real-world automotive sensors.
Combining high optical output power with narrow linewidth further increases the detection range of a LiDAR system by increasing the coherence length of the laser output compared with similar lasers with wider linewidth. The lasers are intended to be used in frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR systems, which have better noise rejection compared with the more common amplitude-modulated LiDAR systems available today.
“AOI’s expertise in semiconductor laser design and production has enabled us to offer this innovative narrow-linewidth laser,” says senior VP & general manager Dr Fred Chang. “The current automotive LiDAR systems have limitations imposed by the available lasers, and AOI’s new 1550nm eye-safe laser will enable advanced FMCW LiDAR systems with improved detection range and accuracy, which are critical to advanced autonomous vehicle technology.”