LED lighting revolutionised with high-definition micro-LED matrix solution

11-01-2023 | Infineon | Automotive & Transport

Three years ago, Nichia Corporation and Infineon Technologies AG joined to develop an HD light engine with more than 16,000 micro-LEDs for headlight applications. The companies are releasing the industry's first fully integrated micro-LED light engine for HD adaptive driving beam applications. The micro-LED matrix solution will appear in a German premium vehicle in 2023.

"The new 16,384-pixel µPLS micro-Pixelated Light Solution is our latest addition to Nichia's portfolio of high-class automotive lighting solutions," said Yusuke Yamazaki, head of Sales and Marketing Automotive, Nichia Europe GmbH. "It combines high-definition resolution with industry's highest light output. This solution enables a new automotive lighting experience by providing four times wider field-of-view with significantly higher light output than any other current micro-mirror-based HD matrix-light solution. For this reason, the advanced HD light can warn drivers of hazards by highlighting people or objects on or by the side of the road. It can also project markings on the road to guide the driver through a construction site or intersection. In addition, functions such as the glare-free high beam or bending light work more precisely and smoothly compared to current adaptive driving beam solutions. This takes the driver's road safety and driving comfort to a new level."

"The µPLS is industry's first fully integrated matrix LED driver capable of driving 16,384 LEDs, combining all required micro-LED driver circuitry with extensive diagnostics and high-speed video and control interfaces," said Andreas Doll, Infineon's senior vice-president and general manager of the Business Unit Body Power of Infineon's Automotive Division. "Our innovative µPLS is much more energy efficient than current HD matrix lighting solutions, contributing to saving global CO 2 emissions and extending the range of electric driven vehicles. Furthermore, we enable the vision of our customers to deploy fully digital light on the road, saving them overall system cost at a very small form factor at the size of a single semiconductor chip. The µPLS is another great example of how Infineon products support digitalisation as well as decarbonisation towards a net-zero society."

The new HD light engine uses Nichia's micro-LED technology and an integrated LED driver IC from Infineon that drives all 16,384 micro-LEDs individually using PWM control. Also, the driver IC monitors every micro-LED separately and supplies on-chip temperature monitoring, providing optimal thermal control. Integrated video interfaces allow high-speed video signal transmission from the light pattern generator unit. Unlike current HD matrix solutions, the driver IC only activates the LEDs required for a light pattern. This hugely increases the energy efficiency of the µPLS light engine at a far smaller form factor in comparison to micro-mirror-based HD matrix solutions in the market.

This provides for smaller and slimmer headlamp designs in the future. Also, the new HD light engine allows adjustments that can be digitally programmed at the factory or activated by the vehicle manufacturer or driver on demand. For example, the different needs of left- and right-handed drivers can be considered, notably improving user-friendliness. With all these features, the new HD light hugely decreases design and production complexity for vehicle manufacturers.

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By Seb Springall