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NeoPhotonics samples high-power Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers for better and cheaper Lidar transceivers

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The San Jose based NeoPhotonics is sampling high-power Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOAs) and Narrow Linewidth (NLW) Distributed Feedback Lasers (DFB) lasers for long-range automotive Lidar (“light detection and ranging”) applications.

NeoPhotonics SOAs and NLW lasers operate in eye-safe wavelength regions, and these offerings feature 1550nm wavelength SOAs with >24dBm (>250mW) output power along with 1550nm NLW-DFB lasers that enable automotive Lidar systems to detect considerably farther than 200 meters, thereby significantly enhancing safety.

Current Lidar systems for autonomous vehicles use expensive discrete optical components and employ direct detection measurement of the reflected light intensity, which limits range and sensitivity. Next generation Lidar systems will use “coherent” technology, which was pioneered by NeoPhotonics for communications networks, to greatly increase the range and sensitivity by measuring the phase of the reflected light. Coherent Lidar systems are fabricated using chip-scale manufacturing to reduce costs and enable high volume.

Chip-scale manufacturing requires coherent Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) powered by low phase and intensity noise semiconductor lasers and high output power semiconductor optical amplifiers. Narrow linewidth and low phase noise lasers enable the precise phase measurements required by coherent detection and optical amplifiers to boost the optical signal power for long reach detection. When combined with coherent PIC receivers, high power SOA and NLW-DFB laser enable coherent Lidar transceivers for high volume manufacturing.

“Our laser components are key elements for chip-scale Lidar systems that can be manufactured in high volumes,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “Lidar architectures based on coherent technologies have the advantage of leveraging high volume, chip-scale technologies developed by NeoPhotonics for telecommunications and data center interconnect applications.”

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