Miniaturized, yet highly sensitive and fast LiDAR systems serve market demands for their use on platforms ranging from robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles (cars, trains, boats, etc.) that are mostly used in complex environments. The widespread use of high performance LiDAR tools faces a need for cost and size reduction. A key component of a LiDAR system is the light source.

Very few laser light sources exist that provide sufficient performance to achieve the required distance range, distance resolution and velocity accuracy of the emerging applications identified in LiDAR roadmaps. The available sources, namely single mode or multimode laser diodes and fiber lasers, are either very costly, not sufficiently robust or not compact enough.

In OPHELLIA, we will investigate advanced materials and integration technologies directed to produce novel PIC building blocks, namely high gain, high output power (booster) amplifiers and on-chip isolators that are not yet available in a PIC format with the required performance. The novel building blocks will be monolithically integrated onto the Si3N4 generic photonic platform to produce high performance laser sources with unprecedented high coherence and high power, which will have a profound impact on the performance of the systems. Advanced packaging will further contribute to a dramatic reduction of the overall cost.

To achieve this ambitious goal, OPHELLIA will leverage the expertise of its consortium members, ranging from materials, integration technologies and PIC design to packaging and LiDAR systems integration, which covers the full chain from innovation to the deployment of the technology in a relevant environment. The successful realization of OPHELLIA will not only represent a milestone towards the widespread utilization of LiDAR systems, but the developed building blocks will also have an enormous impact in other emerging application fields such as datacom/telecom, sensing/spectroscopy and quantum technology.

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