Lukas Freter receives HKA-Award for Bachelor's Thesis at IPQ
For his Bachelor's thesis, former Bachelor student Lukas Freter receives the HKA-Award in category “Electrical Engineering – Sensor Technology” sponsored by Blanc & Fischer Familienholding GmbH & Co. KG. Lukas wrote his thesis at IPQ and investigated calibration methods for optical phased arrays (OPA).
Optical distance measurement systems allow for high precision and distance resolution and are therefore interesting for Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) applications. Steering the optical beam across a scene is a crucial feature in order to acquire a distance map of the systems surrounding. One way to achieve this is by using an optical phased array.
Optical phased arrays use constructive interference of multiple emitted beams to effectively generate a single spot on the target. Tuning of the optical phases of individual emitters allows for continuous steering of the resulting spot across a target or scene.
Solid-state approaches using photonic integrated circuits (PIC) allow for robust, low-cost and compact implementation of such an array. Implementation on the widely used and mature silicon photonics platform, however, leads to unwanted phase errors between the optical channels resulting from manufacturing tolerances. To obtain a high-quality beam, these phase errors have to be compensated by a one-time calibration process. Lukas developed and investigated different methods to calibrate optical phased arrays and evaluated their performance. His work led to several interesting findings and the implementation of an algorithm for phased array calibration.