Ultrafast GaN laser driver for multichannel LiDAR

January 07, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
Ultrafast GaN laser driver for multichannel LiDAR
Osram Opto Semiconductors has teamed with GaN Systems on an ultrafast driver with a high-power, multi-channel Surface Mount (SMT) pulsed laser for LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) systems.

The peak power of the nanostack SPL DS90A_3 laser diode has been boosted to 120 W at 40 A with plans for a four-channel SMT laser in 2019. The additional channels increase the field of view and total peak power, with each channel being capable of generating 120 W.

One of the issues with LiDAR technology has been its inability to transmit lasers at short pulses, while maintaining high peak power, which is necessary to ensure that the LiDAR is eye safe with a long range and high resolution. To address this need, Osram worked with GaN Systems to develop a laser driver with a one nanosecond pulse rise time, while driving all four channels at 40 A each to deliver 480 W peak power. This peak power then can be modulated at low-duty cycles to produce high resolution 3D cloud points at long range for new LiDAR designs.

“Operating at the elevated current levels and nanosecond rise times necessary for long-distance LiDAR requires the high power, high frequency and robust thermal performance that are the hallmarks of GaN Systems’ products,” said Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems.

Scanning LiDAR is a key technology for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is designed to increase road safety and enable autonomous driving. “Osram enables LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles by not only developing high power, multi-channel SMT lasers that meet automotive quality standards, but also working with eco-system partners like GaN Systems to address the technological barriers that arise,“ said Rajeev Thakur, Senior Marketing Manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors. 

www.gansystems.com

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