Laser Components (UK) Ltd.
Goldlay House,
114 Parkway,
Chelmsford Essex CM2 7PR
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1245 491 499


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Photonics News Magazine - Issue 58

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Dear Reader

Drones and more drones, they are part of our modern day lives, whether for amateur airborne camera shoots, military reconnaissance or seeking out the best oil reserve to extract. Efficient propeller design and longer life power sources finally allow realistic flight times and thus more sophisticated on board sensors, most notably object avoidance.

Using flight of flight (ToF) technology, low power and light weight pulsed ­lasers and detectors (avalanche photo diodes or APDs in fact) bring together a pulse of light that reflects off an object to be captured by the APD and using simple sums the distance of the object can be determined. Multiple ToFs on board gives the drone ‘awareness’ or ‘intelligence’ to avoid objects during its intended destination using additional GPS technical.

Enclosed in this new newsletter format we feature ToF applications with drones, autonomous flight and  automotive door safety. There are many other applications, for later issues to reveal more, most obviously autonomous vehicular transport including personal travel. Here we can see entering a ‘pod’, entering our desired destination then sit back and enjoy a DVD or read the e-paper as we travel to and from work. Once roads and motorways have been upgraded to allow on board sensors to locate position, it is probably less than 10 years away before ‘pods’ are common and no one will use a steering wheel.

We also lend insight to blood alcohol measurement, which may be less relevant for autonomous travel, unless our legal system still requires the driver, or passenger, to be ‘in charge’ of the vehicle.  Here we address non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) technology to measure spectral absorption of alcohol, which includes at least four NIR wavelengths to choose from to measure. A broadband NIR source, optical filter at the chosen wavelength and suitable detector completes the NDIR sensor, which can be as small as a cube of sugar, or smaller still!

It may not have escaped the reader’s notice that much of the above resides within the infrared spectrum, thus making all these technologies invisible to humans. Nevertheless there are some high optical powers involved especially if long range sensing is required and so eye safety must be considered. The IR WORKshop was one event addressing all these topics, and well worth considering if your career lies in this area.

Whilst we include some of our latest new products do please visit us at one of Europe’s optoelectronic events such as Photonex Scotland Roadshow in Glasgow or LASER World of Photonics in Munich. We’d be delighted to meet you and discuss the best components for your applications. Enjoy!


Chris Varney

Optoelectronic Security Technologies

  • Commercial Applications of Drones
    From package delivery to civil protection
  • Autonomous Flight
    Distance measurements prevent collisions
  • Automatic Doors and Safety
    High-tech equipment is responsible when doors open automatically
  • Personal Protection through Laser Scanner
    Safety at the workplace

Security Technologies with IR Light

  • The Agony of Choice
    Select a suitable IR Detector

Company News

  • Latest updates from LASER COMPONENTS and partners

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Your contact person

Kay Cable

+44 1245 491499