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Osram and GaN Systems introduce ultrafast laser driver for LiDAR

Osram Opto Semiconductors, an optoelectronics company and a leading supplier of automotive lighting, has announced an ultrafast laser driver with a high-power, multi-channel Surface Mount (SMT) laser for LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) systems.

Osram and GaN Systems, a specialist in GaN power semiconductors, have partnered to develop the laser driver technology that enables longer range and higher resolution LiDAR architectures.

Osram has expanded its laser portfolio for LiDAR, increasing the peak power of the SPL DS90A_3 to 120 W at 40 A. In addition, Osram is looking to release a four-channel SMT laser in 2019. The additional channels increase the field of view and total peak power, with each channel being capable of generating 120 W.

One of the issues with LiDAR technology has been its inability to transmit lasers at short pulses, while maintaining high peak power, which is necessary to ensure that the LiDAR is eye safe with a long range and high resolution.

To address this, Osram has worked with GaN Systems to develop a laser driver with a one nanosecond pulse rise time, while driving all four channels at 40 A each to deliver 480 W peak power. This peak power then can be modulated at low-duty cycles to produce high resolution 3D cloud points at long range for new LiDAR designs.

“Operating at the elevated current levels and nanosecond rise times necessary for long-distance LiDAR requires high power, high frequency and robust thermal performance,” said Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems.

Scanning LiDAR is a key technology for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is designed to increase road safety and enable autonomous driving. These electronic devices react instantly to potential collisions. Scanning LiDAR creates high-resolution 3D images of a car’s surroundings and registers obstacles early enough for ADAS or self-driving cars to initiate the appropriate driving manoeuvres, such as automatic braking to prevent collisions.

“Osram enables LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles by not only developing high power, multi-channel SMT lasers that meet automotive quality standards, but also working with eco-system partners like GaN Systems to address the technological barriers that arise,“ said Rajeev Thakur, Senior Marketing Manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors.

Author
Neil Tyler

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What you think about this article:

I saw this system demonstrated at Photonics West last week.
The system performed at the "one nanosecond pulse rise time" and remained cool. Very impressive!


Posted by: Daniel Stuebe, 11/02/2019

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