Applied Optoelectronics Incorporated have released a high-power, narrow-linewidth laser specifically designed for lidar applications, particularly for automotive use.
Current automotive lidar systems are based on near-IR lasers, which aren’t eye-safe and therefore are limited in terms of emitted power. This power limitation, in turn, restricts the effective sensing range of the lidar system. AOI’s laser operates at longer wavelengths near 1.55 µm 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 to similar lasers with wider linewidth. The lasers are intended to be used in FMCW lidar systems, which have better noise rejection compared to 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,” said Dr. Fred Chang, AOI’s Senior VP and GM. “The current automotive LIDAR systems have limitations imposed by the available lasers, and AOI’s new 1550-nm eye-safe laser will enable advanced FMCW LIDAR systems with improved detection range and accuracy, which are critical to advanced autonomous vehicle technology.”