Headlight with 200,000 micro lenses provides better light

June 06, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Headlight with 200,000 micro lenses provides better light
The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF (Jena, Germany) has developed the prototype of a new generation of vehicle light that not only exceeds the light output and functionality requirements defined by lawmakers and the automotive industry - it is also more efficient, more compact and significantly more flexible in its positioning in the vehicle than current systems.

It is a segmented high beam with reduced stray light. The prototype presented is based on the multi-aperture projector, which has been continuously developed over the years. 200,000 micro-optics bundle the light optimally in the direction of travel. These can be switched off individually or in groups as required without any time delay. In combination with modern vehicle sensors, this effectively prevents glare from oncoming road users. Compared to conventional systems, the required installation space is greatly reduced.

Not only can oncoming traffic be blocked out; it is also possible to protect pedestrians or cyclists without light from glare, increasing the safety of all road users.

Over the next few years, manufacturers will also benefit from significantly greater design freedom in the design of car headlamps. Whether they are then installed as usual on the outside of the vehicle front or as a narrow band in the middle is then left solely to the designers' intention. In addition to a very small overall depth, the system allows greater freedom in terms of dimensions and design. "You don't have to design the headlights to be rectangular, you can choose any other shape," explains Stephanie Fischer, a research assistant in the Microoptical Systems Department at the Fraunhofer IOF. "So far, the larger optics required have limited the design options."

In addition, the new system draws more light from the LEDs. For example, only 35 percent of the luminous efficacy is lost with low beam - a very good value for LED headlights. This increased efficiency improves the energy balance in the vehicle.

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