NeoPhotonics , a specialist designer and manufacturer of advanced hybrid photonic integrated circuit based modules and subsystems for bandwidth-intensive, high speed communications networks, began to sample high-power Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOAs) and Narrow Linewidth (NLW) Distributed Feedback Lasers (DFB) lasers for long range automotive Lidar applications.
NeoPhotonics SOAs and NLW lasers operate in eye-safe wavelength regions, and these offerings feature 1550nm wavelength SOAs with >24 dBm (>250mW) output power along with 1550nm NLW-DFB lasers that enable automotive Lidar systems to “see” considerably farther than 200 meters, thereby significantly enhancing safety.
Current Lidar systems for autonomous vehicles use expensive discrete optical components and employ direct detection measurement of the reflected light intensity, which limits range and sensitivity. Next generation Lidar systems will use “coherent” technology, which was pioneered by NeoPhotonics for communications networks, to greatly increase the range and sensitivity by measuring the phase of the reflected light. Coherent Lidar systems are fabricated using chip-scale manufacturing to reduce costs and enable high volume.
Chip scale manufacturing requires coherent Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) powered by low phase and intensity noise semiconductor lasers and high output power semiconductor optical amplifiers. Narrow linewidth and low phase noise lasers enable the precise phase measurements required by coherent detection and optical amplifiers to boost the optical signal power for long reach detection. When combined with coherent PIC receivers, high power SOA and NLW-DFB lasers enable coherent Lidar transceivers for high volume manufacturing.
“Our laser components are key elements for chip-scale Lidar systems that can be manufactured in high volumes,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “Lidar architectures based on coherent technologies have the advantage of leveraging high volume, chip-scale technologies developed by NeoPhotonics for telecommunications and data center interconnect applications,” he continued.
Laser components are manufactured at the company’s internal fabs and utilize the advanced hybrid photonic integration technology for high performance and high reliability, allowing system integrators to quickly leverage coherent technology and its established manufacturing supply-chain for Lidar applications.
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