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Tiny Switches Give Solid-State LiDAR Record Resolution

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Schematic of the LiDAR chip.

A solid-state LiDAR chip emitting laser light from an optical antenna connected to a tiny switch; reflected light is captured by the same antenna. Three-dimensional images are obtained by sequentially turning on the switches in the array.

Credit: Xiaosheng Zhang, University of California, Berkeley

A high-resolution light detection and ranging (LiDAR) chip developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) could pave the way for smaller, less-expensive LiDAR navigation systems.

The new LiDAR chip is based on a focal plane switch array, which can channel all available laser power through a single antenna at once.

The researchers also used microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches that physically move the waveguides from one position to another; this allows 16,384 pixels to be placed on a 1-centimeter-square chip, with each pixel equivalent to 0.6 degrees of the array's 70-degree field of view.

A 360-degree view around a vehicle could be achieved by mounting several of these chips in a circular configuration.

Said UC Berkeley's Ming Wu, "There will be so many more potential applications once we shrink LiDAR to the size of a smartphone camera."

From Berkeley Engineering
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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