LiDAR Laser: The Architecture & the Working

Assume you drove your car to a remote tourist destination last Christmas. Nonetheless, even though you were unfamiliar with the location or were visiting it for the first time, you made it safely. How did you do that? Well, the most probable answer could be that you used Google Maps along with the LiDAR laser technology installed in your car.

Everyone who owns a car is familiar with the 3-D color map of your immediate surroundings that the car display monitor shows while you travel. This generates a map of the area around you and displays it to the driver, helping them in safe driving. But what is the name of this technology? It’s known as a LiDAR laser, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging.

So, how does LiDAR system work and what components are used to build it? Let’s find out!

LiDAR Laser technology in car

The Architecture of LiDAR Laser

A typical LiDAR laser consists of four major components. 1) transmitter (light source), 2) receiver (light detection), 3) signal detection system and 4) data acquisition and control system. Again, the LiDAR architecture can be built in two ways: biaxial or coaxial.

This configuration aids in avoiding near-field backscattered radiation, which could saturate the photodetector.

In contrast, the axis of the LiDAR Laser beam coincides with the axis of the receiver optics in a coaxial system. As a result, the receiver may see the laser beam in the zero-range bins.

Moreover, in a coaxial system, the nearfield backscattering problem can be solved by either gating the photodetector or using a fast shutter or chopper to block the near field scattering.

It should be noted that the majority of current LiDAR lasers are monostatic, with either a biaxial or a coaxial setup. The detection range usually dictates whether a biaxial or coaxial setup is used. A coaxial setup is desirable if the near field range is required since it allows for complete overlap of the receiver field-of-view with the laser beam.

If a near field range is not required, a biaxial configuration may help prevent photodetector saturation due to significant near field scattering. Scanning capabilities can also play a role in deciding whether to use biaxial or coaxial wires.

Now, let’s look at how the LiDAR laser works.

How Does LiDAR Laser Works?

The functioning of a LiDAR laser is quite simple. The bottom line is to figure out how long it takes for a light beam to hit an object and rebound to the detector. Then compute the distance using the transit time, record the angle, and use this data to map out where the reflecting object is in the 3-D structure.

This method is more difficult to achieve high accuracy since it requires knowing where the plane is within a centimeter or so as it travels at 100 to 200 mph, bouncing up and down while monitoring hundreds of thousands of LiDAR laser pulses every sec.

LiDAR laser technologies, on the other hand, have advanced tremendously. The first commercial systems were bulky and complicated, with speeds of up to 10,000 points per second (10 kilohertz). The latest systems are compact, lighter, and have higher precision.

Inphenix is a US-based company that produces high-quality LiDAR lasers and other light sources. Along with light sources, they deal with lasers, driver boards, superluminescent diodes, semiconductor optical amplifiers, and O-band optical amplifiers. Visit the website to learn more about our expertise, products, and services.