With so many different technologies making up the photonics or light technologies industry, it’s not possible to be an expert on all of them. That’s why, each year Novus Light’s feature articles provide an in-depth look at all the different technologies. As the year draws to a close, it’s interesting to look at which articles drew the highest number of readers. The results indicate the current technology trends in the industry, but also where the opportunities of tomorrow lie.
Lidar navigation systems have relied on a first-generation pulsed technology called time-of-flight (ToF) lidar. Pulsed ToF lidar emits powerful pulses of light to detect obstacles in its path by measuring the round-trip time of photons that bounce back from objects. Time of flight lidar has some challenges: During bright daylight photons from the sun interfere with the signal creating
noise in the received signal. And, with multiple ToF lidars operating in the vicinity, the ToF system could become completely incapacitated by receiving pulses from other lidar systems. This article introduces coherent lidars, based on the frequency modulated continuous wave, or FMCW. This technique allows much higher detection sensitivity and accuracy as well as other benefits.
Traditional laser scanning imaging and microscopy systems rely on the inconveniently bulky and high-power consuming galvanometer scanners for their beam scanning component. But as the industry demands smaller and lower-power solutions, researchers and manufacturers are looking towards alternative technologies.
Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirrors are able to meet the industry’s demands by providing a compact, low-cost, and low-power consumption solution for high-speed beam steering. Read about types of MEMS mirrors, such as resonant versus quasi-static, and which are better suited for this industry.
The high visibility and ability to direct light makes lasers an appealing light source in regular automobiles as well as in driverless, autonomous vehicles. Read about the particular challenges in lighting the road for autonomous vehicles and the forward-thinking opportunities that lie in laser technology.
We interview a founder of SLD Laser, a company that sees rich opportunity in laser headlights, and lay out a vision for the future where lights can put the smarts into the smart car of tomorrow.
3D vision is a vast area and there are so many technologies available today.
It is now used everywhere, in applications for the medical industry, science, automotive, food production and sorting, and can be found on production floors, as well as for automation, security, and quality control. Technologies such as modern electronics and artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled systems to become more powerful at reasonable prices. Read about the four popular 3D vision technologies and how to select the right one for a given application.
LED lighting is essential to some indoor growing operations, especially in areas with long winters and cold climates. LEDs offer many advantages over other lighting sources, such as fluorescent, including longevity, energy efficiency and lower temperatures.
Furthermore, LEDs can be tuned to just the spectrum that growers need for particular plants. Read this case study, which describes how Honey Creek Labs, a marijuana grower, benefited by using new Black Dog LEDs that combine multiple LEDs with discrete spectra that helps indoor growers cultivate high-yielding plants.
The opportunities in the autonomous market seem boundless, with some analysts expecting it to grow nearly 30% over the next ten year. The growth is driven in part by the use of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) in today’s vehicles as well as the proliferation of autonomous vehicles (including boats, aircraft and agricultural equipment) under development.
This article looks at what companies are currently supplying the technical components to the industry, as well as the applications developed, and some of the end users who are testing self-driving cars and delivery vehicles.
The merger of lidar into specialized sensor suites with autonomous vehicles promises to make cars more intelligent.
However, it is currently making the cars very bulky and unattractive, with large lidar systems sitting on top of the car and computing devices loaded into the trunk. Current systems are challenged because not enough light makes it to the sensor to enable long-distance sensing. This article looks the role of optical components in overcoming that challenge and ultimately improving system performance.
Europe has a dynamic photonics ecosystem with approximately 100 acquisitions a year, strong investment from the EU in research & development.
This article, written by Carlos Lee, Director General of EPIC and Jose Pozo, Director of Technology and Innovation at EPIC, explores some of the current challenges to the industry—including the US/China trade issues, which indirectly impact Europe. They also discuss the many strengths and subtle changes in manufacturing focus, such as the various niche markets that have become quite significant. While scarcity of talent is an obstacle, the European photonics industry continues to play a vital role in the global supply chain.
Quantum computers promise to transform information technology. Perhaps only a few years from now, they will be performing tasks impossible for any classical machine, powering data science, engineering and drug design.
While few of us can really explain quantum computing succinctly, this article is a real help in understanding what quantum computing is and the critical role that light plays in this important technology of the future, which is creating a multi-billion-dollar market for lasers and other photonic components.
New technology is bringing new capabilities to the surgical stage. For example, fluorescence microscopes let surgeons differentiate malignant from healthy tissue in real time, which means that decisions can be made on the spot to determine critical surgical interventions.
Read about how the latest microscopes are being used with digital augmented reality, enabling surgeons to view tissue in real-time with just the touch of a button. Also, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), which, when used in conjunction with fluorescence microscopy, offers better understanding of disease processes, and thus aids in the development and implementation of therapies and other medical interventions.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Novus Light Technologies Today