Applied Optoelectronics debuts narrow linewidth laser for automotive LIDAR

Created April 3, 2020
Technologies and Products

Applied Optoelectronics, has announced the release of a high power and narrow linewidth laser specifically designed for Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) applications, particularly for automotive use.

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 Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) LIDAR systems, which have better noise rejection compared to the more common amplitude modulated LIDAR systems available today.

Applied Optoelectronics says that current automotive LIDAR systems are based on near infrared lasers, however these lasers are not 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 1550-nm where eye-safe emission limits are much higher and therefore detection distances are longer, making them better suited for real-world automotive sensors.

“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.”

The new lasers are available for customer sampling immediately.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.