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Technical Ceramics for Automotive Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

CoorsTek technical ceramic materials are helping lead the way to the commercialization of automotive Light Detection and Ranging (aka LiDAR) systems. LiDAR is a key enabler for developing autonomous vehicle technologies and other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

While completely autonomous vehicle technologies are in their infancy, a multitude of advanced driver assistance and sensing systems are already in use in today’s automotive industry.

Polycrystalline YAG Button

Passive Q-Switching Button


Benefits of Technical Ceramics for Automotive LiDAR Applications

  • Greater control of material properties and functional performance
  • Near net shape forming techniques
  • Scalable manufacturing process for high-volume
  • Scalable technology
  • Low cost industrialization investments


LiDAR for Automotive

LiDAR utilizes a laser beam and time-of-flight calculations to identify surroundings, eliminating many of the difficulties encountered by other sensing systems. LiDAR provides distance and velocity information obtained by measuring the time of flight from the light source of the LiDAR system to the object (pedestrian, car etc.) and back to the detector. In automotive applications, LiDAR is particularly beneficial because it can provide high resolution three-dimensional imaging in poor visibility conditions, such as darkness.

One of the major barriers to the adoption of LiDAR in automotive applications has been high system cost. Developing these systems for mass production has traditionally been too capital intensive – in part due to constraints presented by the development and manufacturing of a key system component – the yttrium aluminum garnet, or YAG laser crystal.  


CoorsTek has developed a new transparent polycrystalline YAG ceramic material for LiDAR applications. Polycrystalline YAG ceramics offer numerous benefits over commonly used monocrystal YAG mediums, including scalabilty, increased control of material properties, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).  The result is a next-generation evolution, enabling automotive LiDAR systems to achieve reduced complexity and improved manufacturability. Learn more about polycrystalline YAG optoceramics.


Passive Q-Switch Technology

polycrystalline YAGWithin a LiDAR system utilizing a YAG laser medium, a light pulse is generated using a solid state laser that has a laser cavity consisting of two materials: a laser gain material and a saturable absorber that acts as a so-called passive Q-switch. This Q-switch technology enables the emission of very powerful short pulses with a duration of a few nanoseconds. Learn more about Passive Q-Switch Technology.  


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