CORDIS - EU research results

On-chip PHotonics Erbium-doped Laser for LIdar Applications

Project description

Integrated photonics could speed up commercialisation of compact LIDAR

Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems can provide accurate imaging and mapping for a wide range of applications. They are the 'eyes' for autonomous vehicles, and they are also used by autonomous robots and drones. However, the size and costs of the technology currently needed have limited LIDAR use in commercial applications. The EU-funded OPHELLIA project will fabricate novel building blocks for LIDAR, namely silicon nitride photonic chips, to produce high-performance laser sources with unprecedented coherence and power. An advanced integrated circuit packaging solution will dramatically reduce the overall LIDAR costs. Project work will be a key step forward for the widespread commercialisation of compact LIDAR systems that could have far-reaching implications for telecommunications, sensing and quantum technologies.


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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Net EU contribution
€ 1 365 000,00
7522 NB Enschede

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Oost-Nederland Overijssel Twente
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 365 000,00

Participants (7)