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Diode Laser Headlights Could Replace LED Styles

High Resolution Lenses for machine vision, instrumentation, inspection and vibration-sensitive applications. Standard and custom hi-res lens assemblies.

Diode Laser Lens

Diode Laser Lens

LED lights (light emitting diodes) have been used a source of light in everything from underwater swimming pool lights to automotive lighting in signals and brake lights to traffic signals. LEDs have been in use since the early 1960s, but might now be replaced by a new technology being developed by BMW. The automaker is producing a version of a laser headlight for its vehicles. The company says full incorporation of the technology is still about three years away.

The laser headlights, production engineers at BMW say, offer myriad advantages from LED headlamps. One of the major benefits of an LED light is that it is low-energy, but lasers have been proven to be even lower energy. Because lasers take up so much less space than LEDs they allow for greater flexibility in auto design for carmakers. Consider the intense light that comes from a laser pen and you can see the possibilities of space-saving potential for car manufacturers.

In BMW’s process, the laser light will not project directly onto the road, but will instead be aimed at small mirrors that will reflect the light onto the lens. Inside the lens, yellow phosphorus will generate an intense white light that will be bounced off an embedded reflector onto the road. The assembly will contain three laser diodes to generate a blue laser beam 10 microns wide; a fifth as thin as that of a human strand of hair.

As with LEDs being able to have both its shape and intensity varied based on the configuration of the reflectors, lasers will also have this technology but will be even more accurate in beam placement. In addition, the laser diode lights will have very little beam “spill” on either side. It was noted that BMW car designers are still dealing with technological issues such as sensitivity to vibration and heat.

Diode laser lens assemblies created by Universe Optics could be incorporated into such a laser vehicle light technology just as they are utilized in CD, DVD players, laser pointers, laser levels, laser surface inspection systems and more.