On-demand beam scanning and application to New LiDAR system

We develop a chip for electrical 2D beam scanning based on dually modulated photonic crystals. 10×10 different dually modulated photonic crystal lasers are integrated in a 2D matrix, where individual PCSELs can be driven independently.

An example of 2D beam scanning can be seen in the following video. On-demand 2D beam scanning operation has been successfully achieved, and even multi-beam scanning has been realized.

The developed 2D beam scanning chip can be utilized to construct an architecture of a new LiDAR system, where the flash-type and beam scanning-type LiDARs are combined.

In a flash LiDAR system, a flash light source is used for broad areal lighting, and COMS ToF camera is used for ranging. Such a system enables non-mechanical LiDAR operation, but as a result of broad area lighting, light intensity for unit area becomes inherently weak. Thus, the distance of a weakly reflective object like a black metallic car cannot be measured.

Then, we introduce our electrical beam scanning light source. By targeting, or scanning, for the black metallic car with the beam scanning laser, the distance of the black car can be accurately measured.

The system which we constructed are shown below. A dually-modulated PCSEL chip, where the emission angles are designed from -20 to +20 degrees in steps of 0.4 degrees, are mounted. The video below shows the demonstration.