Two recent research efforts have brough new solutions to improve lidar sensing technology. From the University of Colorado at Boulder comes a new silicon ship without moving parts or electronics that enhances resolution and scanning speed for lidar sensors. The research aimed to develop small chip to replace existing big lidar systems, so the research team devised what they call wavelength steering, wherein each wavelength of the laser is pointed to its own angle. The chip thus provides not just a 2D scanning function but also 3D images with colour. Since the beams are easily controlled by simply changing wavelengths, multiple phased arrays can be controlled simultaneously to create a bigger aperture and a higher-resolution image.
The researchers believe the approach can lead to cheaper and less complex lidar products for the market where demands for sensing and detecting applications continue to expand. The study has been published in Optica.
And researchers at the University of Purdue and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) unveiled their development with FMCW lidar. The research team built a method to enable FMCW lidar to achieve detection with higher resolution of fast-moving objects through mechanical control and modulation of light on a silicon chip. The technology integrates MEMS transducers made of aluminum nitride to modulate the microcomb at high frequencies ranging from megahertz to gigahertz. That study has been published in Nature.