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1. WO2020205450 - SWITCHABLE COHERENT PIXEL ARRAY FOR FREQUENCY MODULATED CONTINUOUS WAVE LIGHT DETECTION AND RANGING

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[ EN ]

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR transceiver implemented on a photonic integrated circuit, the photonic integrated circuit comprising:

an input port configured to receive a frequency modulated laser signal; a plurality of optical antennas;

an optical switch configured to switchably couple the input port to the optical antennas, thereby forming optical paths between the input port and the optical antennas;

for each optical path from the input port to one of the optical antennas, a splitter coupled along the optical path and configured to:

split a received portion of the laser signal into a local oscillator signal and a transmitted signal, wherein the transmitted signal is emitted via the optical antenna and a reflection of the transmitted signal is received via the optical antenna as a reflected signal;

output a return signal that is a portion of the reflected signal, and for each splitter, a mixer coupled to receive the return signal and the local

oscillator signal from the splitter, the mixer configured to mix the return signal and the local oscillator signal to generate one or more output signals used to determine depth information for a field of view of the transceiver.

2. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, further comprising:

for each splitter, a polarization assembly coupled along the optical path between the splitter and the optical antenna, the polarization assembly configured to:

couple an optical signal from a first waveguide to form the transmitted signal; and

polarize the transmitted signal to have a first polarization; and polarize the reflected signal based on a second polarization that is orthogonal to the first polarization to form a return signal; and couple the return signal into a second waveguide for optical detection.

3. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the FMCW transceiver comprises a separate splitter for each of the plurality of antennas, each splitter coupled along the optical path between the optical switch and the corresponding antenna.

4. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the FMCW transceiver contains only one splitter coupled between the input port and the optical switch.

5. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein an arrangement of the plurality of antennas is selected from a group comprising: a regular array, a linear array, and a rectangular array.

6. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the one or more output signals includes a quadrature output signal and an in-phase output signal for each return signal.

7. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the optical switch comprises:

a passive optical splitter that splits the frequency modulated laser signal between at least two optical paths.

8. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the optical switch comprises:

an active optical splitter that switchably couples the frequency modulated laser signal to only one of at least two optical paths.

9. The FMCW transceiver of claim 8, wherein the optical switch comprises a plurality of active optical splitters.

10. The FMCW transceiver of claim 1, wherein the optical switch optically couples the frequency modulated laser signal to each of the optical antennas one at time over a scanning period of the FMCW transceiver.

11. A frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR system comprising: a LiDAR chip including a FMCW LiDAR transceiver implemented on a photonic integrated circuit, the photonic integrated circuit comprising:

an input port configured to receive a frequency modulated laser signal;

a plurality of optical antennas;

an optical switch configured to switchably couple the input port to the optical antennas, thereby forming optical paths between the input port and the optical antennas;

for each optical path from the input port to one of the optical antennas, a splitter coupled along the optical path and configured to:

split a received portion of the laser signal into a local oscillator signal and a transmitted signal, wherein the transmitted signal is emitted via the optical antenna and a

reflection of the transmitted signal is

received via the optical antenna as a reflected signal,

output a return signal that is a portion of the

reflected signal, and

for each splitter, a mixer coupled to receive the return signal and the local oscillator signal from the splitter, the mixer configured to mix the return signal and the local oscillator signal to generate one or more output signals used to determine depth information for a field of view of FMCW LiDAR; and

a lens positioned to collimate the transmitted signals emitted via the plurality of antennas; and; and

wherein the lens is also positioned to receive the reflected signals and couple the reflected signals to the emitting optical antennas.

12. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 11, further comprising:

for each splitter, a polarization assembly coupled along the optical path between the splitter and the optical antenna, the polarization assembly configured to:

couple an optical signal from a first waveguide to form the transmitted signal; and

polarize the transmitted signal to have a first polarization; and polarize the reflected signal based on a second polarization that is orthogonal to the first polarization to form a return signal; and couple the return signal into a second waveguide for optical detection.

13. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 12, further comprising:

a quarter wave plate positioned along an optical path of the emitted transmitted signals, to convert the transmitted signals from a first linear polarization to a circular polarization and is configured to convert the reflected signals from circular polarization to a second linear polarization that is orthogonal to the first linear polarization.

14. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 11, wherein the lens is configured to:

project a transmitted signal emitted from a first antenna of the plurality of antennas into a corresponding portion of the field of view of the FMCW LiDAR system; and

provide a reflection of the transmitted signal to the first antenna.

15. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 11, wherein the plurality of optical antennas are arranged in a linear array, and the lens produces collimated transmitted signals that scan the transceiver field of view along one angular dimension.

16. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 15, wherein the FMCW LiDAR system has a field of view of 5 degrees or better along the one angular dimension.

17. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 15, further comprising:

a scanning mirror configured to scan the transmitted signals in a second dimension within the field of view of the FMCW LiDAR system, the second dimension orthogonal to the one angular dimension.

18. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 11, wherein the FMCW is configured to emit a plurality of transmitted signals from the plurality of antennas, such that the plurality of transmitted signals scan in two dimensions a portion of the field of view of the FMCW LiDAR system.

19. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 18, wherein the two dimensions are a first dimension and a second dimension, and the scan module field of view is at 5 degrees or better along the first dimension and is 5 degrees or better along the second dimension.

20. The FMCW LiDAR system of claim 11, wherein the FMCW LiDAR system is configured to target at least 100K points per second over the field of view of the FMCW LiDAR system.