LaserLight news

OPTICS & PHOTONICS NEWS
May 30, 2022

New Optics for Cars

Laser headlights were born in Germany, where autobahnspeed limits are only advisory outside of urban areas.Cars at autobahn speeds need some 600 meters to stopsafely when they hit the brakes, and only using lasers inthe headlights can illuminate the road to that distance,says Josip Kovacevic of US-based Kyocera-SLDlaser.The first cars with headlights based on blue diodelasers pumping phosphors hit the road around 2015,and generated a combined narrow beam of white lightilluminating the highway up to 600 m ahead.Kyocera-SLDlaser started with a different approach,with a separate blue laser delivering light through anoptical fiber to a small spot of phosphors at the headlight. The headlight could produce either a bright, tinyspot and a narrow beam, or a longer-range beam similar to a normal high beam. More recently, the companyshifted to a surface-mounted 7-mm laser package thatis paired with phosphors for use in both high and lowbeams. Laser headlights have caught on with off-roaddriving enthusiasts because they illuminate the distantlandscape well, so enthusiasts buy aftermarket laserheadlights and use them only off-road.Kyocera is looking to make more than headlights.“OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] are lookingfor multifunction headlight devices,” says Kovacevic,and the company recently added other features to itslaser headlight. A pulsed 905-nm near-infrared sourcecould double its duty, serving as a flash lidar to measure distance and a night-vision camera that wouldavoid disturbing other drivers by operating beyondthe human vision range. Later, Paul Rudy of Kyocerasays, the laser headlight could add channels for Li-Fiwireless optical links connecting the car to other vehicles or local transmitters.