LIDAR Lasers – Laser Sources for LIDAR Systems
What are LIDAR Lasers?
LIDAR lasers or laser sources for LIDAR are the devices that produce the laser light used in LIDAR systems.
They can be either solid-state or mechanical. Solid-state laser sources use a semiconductor or other solid material to generate and even steer the laser light, while mechanical laser sources use a spinning mirror to steer the beam. Both types of laser sources have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, with solid-state laser sources being more compact, reliable, and efficient, and mechanical laser sources being able to produce higher power laser beams. Both types of laser sources are used in various lidar applications such as autonomous vehicles, drones, and robotics.
What is LIDAR?
LIDAR laser sources are the key component within LIDAR Systems. LIDAR, which is an acronym for light detection and ranging, is the optical analog to traditional radar (radio detection and ranging). Because optical frequencies are much higher than their radio wave counterparts, lasers allow for much higher bandwidth signals and therefore much higher resolution detection.
Just as radar is a highly diverse field using a variety of radio wave sources, LIDAR lasers also come in a vast range as well. The primary driver between which type of laser source you will need for your application is whether you are measuring moving targets or not.
For stationary targets, where distance is the only thing being measured, short-pulsed lasers are used to measure the roundtrip time-of-flight of each pulse and therefore calculate the distance to the target. But, if a target is moving and you need to measure its speed, single frequency lasers are required in order to accurately measure the Doppler shift and calculate the object’s speed.
So, there are different laser sources with different specifications that are more suited for these various applications. On this page, you will find a list of all of the laser sources we offer for LIDAR systems, ranging from passively q-switched microchip lasers to single-frequency fiber lasers.