According to presentations at ISAL 2015, the development of high-resolution headlamps is following multiple paths, supported by different and competing technologies. This week we look at four major ones: addressable-pixel LED chips, LCD, MEMS-based scanners, and DMD arrays.
For starters, consider evolution along the line of progressive incremental increases of the number of addressable pixels on LED chips. Monolithically structured pixel LED semiconductor layers are built up on a silicon substrate which, via the integration of circuit parts, will allow the selective control of more than 84, and soon over 1024 individually addressable pixels per LED chip. This LED technology developed in the project sponsored by the BMBF (Germany's Federal Ministry for Education and Research) is being tested in an experimental Mercedes this year. The high resolution will, in turn, also substantially increase the precision and brilliance of the glare-free adaptive high beam.
The burgeoning demand for high-resolution headlights has led to the development of automotive versions of methods successfully used in projection display applications such as cinema projectors, conference room projectors and pico projectors. Among these are LCD, MEMS-based scanning mirrors, and DMDs. In combination with high-luminance LED sources or laser diodes, these systems offer new opportunities for applications in high-end headlamps.