Laser-Based Lighting

Working with our client Ford Motor Co. [] and its subsidiary Visteon Corp [] TIG has been exploring the promise of diode lasers as light sources for vehicles. The reason for this effort is the perception that diode lasers will surpass conventional light sources in efficiency, convenience and cost in the not too distant future. These perceptions are based on quantitative technical forecasting and analysis of R&D results. (See our description of TIG's technology analysis.)

The application of lasers to illumination tasks presents several major challenges, particularly in the area of eye safety. Our clients have obtained a number of patents on optics which can allow safe use of laser light and on system interlocks suitable for vehicle applications. TIG personnel are co-inventors with Ford/Visteon personnel on many of these patents.

TIG also has helped produce numerous prototype systems for displays and show cars. An example is the De Tomaso show car shown in the picture. TIG worked with Visteon to supply the laser systems including electronics, lasers and optics for the brake lights, tail lights and center mounted brake light.(see the description of TIG's optical design and fabrication capabilities in Optical Design)

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Click on the thumbnail to a see full size image.

This car was shown at the North American Auto Show and the Geneva Auto Show in 1999.

These laser-based lighting systems have been described in articles in Photonics Spectra (November, 1997) and Optics and Photonics News (August, 1999) as well as in technical articles. In December, 1999 these systems were selected by Popular Science Magazine as one of the 100 top technical achievements of the year. They were also awarded a prize by the Brazilian chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The Ford and Visteon personnel involved with this effort have won several Ford internal awards.