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Project name:

Substitute for LIDAR sensors - Nonlinear photodiode

Status: Idea
Creation date: 20-09-2022

Project objectives:

Short summary A German university developed a substitute for LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors. It is an intrinsic frequency-mixing photodiode with an optically controllable response.With the current lab prototypes, distances of over 100 m can be measured down to the centimeter. By utilizing their inherently nonlinear behavior, these components can be used for entirely new applications in optical data processing. The university offers a license agreement and/or a technical cooperation agreement.

Full description Optical components like photodiodes have a variety of uses in sensors and telecommunications technology. Even with time-of-flight sensors, the light reflected by objects has to be converted into electrical signals in order to compute the distance or speed of said objects. A new invention from a German university is an intrinsic frequency-mixing photodiode with an optically controllable response. This special a-Si:H PIN diode is lit with different wavelengths simultaneously, with sensitivity in the blue end of the spectrum significantly increased by adding red light. The effect is surprisingly pronounced, and an initial demonstration produced amplification of up to two orders of magnitude, making it possible to raise sensitivity with values from silicon diodes with long-term optimization. This allows very weak frequency-modulated signals in the blue channel to be significantly raised out from background noise. When the light sources are modulated differently, the diode intrinsically generates signal amplitudes in sum and difference frequencies. This technology can be used to create sensors based on frequency mixing for 3D distance measuring in passenger vehicles, robots, industrial automation and augmented reality applications. Since these optoelectronic components would be inexpensive and relatively easy to manufacture, they could be a promising alternative to LIDAR sensors. With the current lab prototypes, distances of over 100 m can be measured down to the centimeter. By utilizing their inherently nonlinear behavior, these components can be used for entirely new applications in optical data processing. In neuromorphic computing, neuronal networks are implemented directly in the hardware for a considerable performance advantage for AI applications compared to purely softwareimplemented solutions run on conventional processors. Further applications as active components in optical communications technology or as electro-optical transistors are conceivable. The university offers interested companies a licence agreement. A technology cooperation agreement is also conceivable. Within the framework of a research project, interested parties could further develop the offered technology together with the inventor.

Advantages and innovations Since these optoelectronic components would be inexpensive and relatively easy to manufacture, they could be a promising alternative to LIDAR sensors. - Sensitivity adjustable by light - Suitable for optical distance measurement - Low cost component - Wide range of applications

Contact / source: NEXT EEN Widgets (europa.eu)

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