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Title:
LIDAR SYSTEMS INCLUDING A GALLIUM AND NITROGEN CONTAINING LASER LIGHT SOURCE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/118140
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A mobile machine including a laser diode based lighting system having an integrated package holding at least a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode and a wavelength conversion member. The gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode is configured to emit a first laser beam with a first peak wavelength. The wavelength conversion member is configured to receive at least partially the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength to excite an emission with a second peak wavelength that is longer than the first peak wavelength and to generate the white light mixed with the second peak wavelength and the first peak wavelength. The mobile machine further includes a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system configured to generate a second laser beam and manipulate the second laser beam to sense a spatial map of target objects in a remote distance.

Inventors:
RARING, James, W. (485 Pine Avenue, Goleta, California, 93117, US)
MCLAURIN, Melvin (485 Pine Avenue, Goleta, California, 93117, US)
RUDY, Paul (485 Pine Avenue, Goleta, California, 93117, US)
NOVOTNY, Vlad (485 Pine Avenue, Goleta, California, 93117, US)
Application Number:
US2018/062092
Publication Date:
June 20, 2019
Filing Date:
November 20, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SORAA LASER DIODE, INC. (485 Pine Avenue, Goleta, California, 93117, US)
International Classes:
G01S17/89; F21K9/60; F21K9/64; G01S17/02; G01S17/88
Foreign References:
US20170051883A12017-02-23
US20160265729A12016-09-15
US9784835B12017-10-10
US7532311B22009-05-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CATMULL, Kelvin, B. (Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP, Mailstop: IP Docketing-221100 Peachtree Street, Suite 280, Atlanta Georgia, 30309, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A mobile machine comprising:

a laser diode based lighting system comprising an integrated package holding at least a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode and a wavelength conversion member, the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode being configured to emit a first laser beam with a first peak wavelength, the wavelength conversion member being configured to receive at least partially the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength to excite an emission with a second peak wavelength that is longer than the first peak wavelength and to generate the white light mixed with the second peak wavelength and the first peak wavelength; and

a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system configured to generate a second laser beam and manipulate the second laser beam to sense a spatial map of target objects in a remote distance.

2. The mobile machine of claim 1, wherein the white light is configured as an illumination source for illuminating the target objects and their surrounding

environment dynamically moved as the mobile machine.

3. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode is configured to produce the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength in a blue color range, the wavelength conversion member comprises a phosphor material configured to be excited by the first laser beam in the blue color range to produce the second peak wavelength in a broad color range including yellow color

4. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode is configured to produce the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength in a violet color range, the wavelength conversion member comprises a phosphor material configured to be excited by the first laser beam in the violet color range to produce the second peak wavelength in a broad color range including green color.

5. The mobile machine of claim 3, the phosphor material is comprised of a ceramic yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) doped with Ce or a single crystal YAG doped with Ce or a powdered YAG comprising a binder material; wherein the phosphor has an optical conversion efficiency of greater than 50 lumen per optical watt, greater than 100 lumen per optical watt, greater than 200 lumen per optical watt, or greater than 300 lumen per optical watt.

6. The mobile machine of claim 3, wherein the phosphor material is configured to operate in a mode selected from a reflective mode, a transmissive mode, and a combination of a reflective mode and a transmissive mode in association with receiving the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength to excite the emission with the second peak wavelength.

7. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the integrated package comprises the wavelength conversion member configured as a remote pumped phosphor and a space supporting free-space-optics to guide the laser beam from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode to the remote pumped phosphor.

8. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the integrated package comprises the wavelength conversion member configured as a remote pumped phosphor and an optical fiber to guide the laser beam from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode to the remote pumped phosphor.

9. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the integrated package comprises a surface mount device (SMD) package including a common support member configured to support at least one gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode and the wavelength conversion member.

10. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the at least one gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode comprises multiple laser diodes such as 2 laser diodes, 3 laser diodes, or 4 laser diodes to generate 2 laser beams, 3 laser beams, or 4 laser beams, respectively; and wherein the multiple laser beams form an excitation spot on the wavelength conversion member.

11. The mobile machine of claim 10, wherein each of the multiple laser diodes is characterized by one of multiple first peak wavelengths in 420 nm to 485 nm blue color range; wherein the multiple first peak wavelengths result in an improved color quality of the white light.

12. The mobile machine of claim 2, wherein the wavelength conversion member comprises a first phosphor material configured to be excited by the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength to produce a first emission of a second peak wavelength and a second phosphor material configured to be excited by the laser beam to produce a second emission with a third peak wavelength.

13. The mobile machine of claim 12, wherein the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode is characterized by the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength in violet color range, the first phosphor material is characterized by the first emission with the second peak wavelength in blue color range, and the second phosphor material is

characterized by the second emission with the third wavelength in yellow color range, and wherein the white light is comprised of at least the first emission and the second emission.

14. The mobile machine of claim 1 wherein the LIDAR system comprises a laser subsystem including a driver and a laser diode to generate the second laser beam and a transmitter to transmit one or more sensing light signals based on the second laser beam out to environment; a detection subsystem including at least a receiver to detect reflected light signals from the environment based on the one or more sensing light signals; and a signal processor to synchronize the transmitter and the receiver to compute respective time of flight for the one or more sensing light signals and the reflected light signals to generate a spatial map image and identify objects or areas of interest.

15. The mobile machine of claim 14, wherein the one or more sensing light signals are based on the second laser beam at a wavelength selected from about 905 nm, about 1000 nm, about 1064 nm, or about 1550 nm, or about 532 nm.

16. The mobile machine of claim 14, wherein the LIDAR system comprises a scanning MEMS or other beam scanner for manipulating the second laser beam carrying the one or more sensing light signals projected with a survey pattern to the environment.

17. The mobile machine of claim 14, wherein the LIDAR system is configured with a detector array for simultaneous detection of the reflected light signals at multiple locations in a plane for generating some or all pixels of a frame of image.

18. The mobile machine of claim 1 further is configured as a vehicle including autonomous vehicle, aircraft, spacecraft, drone, motorcycle, boat, marine vehicle, submarine, bicycle, tricycle, electrical scooter.

19. The mobile machine of claim 14, further comprises a signal processor that is configured to control the laser diode based lighting system based on feedback information provided from the LIDAR system, wherein the laser diode based lighting system is configured to preferentially use the white light to illuminate at least one of the target objects and surrounding areas identified by the LIDAR system.

20. The mobile machine of claim 19, wherein the laser diode based lighting system is controlled to dynamically change at least one of the illumination intensity, illumination pattern, beam angle, beam shape, and beam location of the white light based on at least some feedback information from the LIDAR system when detecting at least one moving target object.

21. The mobile machine of claim 20, wherein the feedback information includes mapping image of the at least one oncoming moving object obtained by the LIDAR system and the white light is used for send out messages through a visible light

communication network.

22. A LIDAR system comprising:

a power source;

a processor coupled to the power source and configured to supply power and generate a driving current;

a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode configured to be driven by the driving current to emit a first light with a first peak wavelength;

a wavelength conversion member configured to receive at least partially the first light to reemit a second light with a second peak wavelength that is longer than the first peak wavelength and to combine a portion of the first light with the second light to produce a white light;

a beam shaper coupled to the wavelength conversion member to receive the white light to generate an illumination source; the LIDAR system further comprising a first sensing light signal based on the first peak wavelength;

at least a first beam projector coupled to the beam shaper and configured to direct at least partially the white light to illuminate one or more target objects or areas and to transmit respectively the first sensing light signal for mapping a remote area including the one or more target objects or areas and their surroundings; and

a detector configured to detect reflected signals of the first sensing light signal to generate a first image of the one or more target objects or areas.

23. A LIDAR system comprising:

a power source;

a processor coupled to the power source and configured to supply power and generate driving currents;

a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode configured to be driven by a driving current from the processor to emit a first light with a first peak wavelength;

a wavelength conversion member configured to receive at least partially the first light to reemit a second light with a second peak wavelength that is longer than the first peak wavelength and to combine a portion of the first light with the second light to produce a white light;

a beam shaper coupled to the wavelength conversion member to receive the white light to generate an illumination source further comprising a sensing light signal based on one of the first peak wavelength and the second peak wavelength;

a beam projector coupled to the beam shaper and configured to direct at least partially the white light to illuminate one or more target objects and to transmit the sensing light signal for mapping a remote area including the one or more target objects and their surroundings; and

a detector configured to detect reflected signals of the sensing light signal to generate a first image of the one or more target objects and their surroundings.

Description:
LIDAR SYSTEMS INCLUDING A GALLIUM AND NITROGEN CONTAINING LASER LIGHT SOURCE

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Patent Application No. 15/841,053, filed December 13, 2017, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

BACKGROUND

[0002] In the late l800's, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. On October 7, 2014, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for "the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy saving white light sources" or, less formally, LED lamps. Although LEDs have been successful, other applications for LEDs are desired.

SUMMARY

[0003] In an example, the present invention provides an apparatus comprising LIDAR. In an example, the apparatus has a laser diode based lighting system comprising an integrated package holding at least a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode and a wavelength conversion member. In an example, the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode is configured to emit a first laser beam with a first peak wavelength. The wavelength conversion member is configured to receive at least partially the first laser beam with the first peak wavelength to excite an emission with a second peak wavelength that is longer than the first peak wavelength and to generate the white light mixed with the second peak wavelength and the first peak wavelength. The apparatus has a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system configured to generate a second laser beam and manipulate the second laser beam to sense a spatial map of target objects in a remote distance. Further details of the present apparatus and related techniques are found throughout the present specification and more particularly below. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] Figure 1 A is a schematic diagram of a laser based white light source operating in reflection mode in a surface mount package according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0005] Figure 1B is a schematic diagram of a laser based white light source operating in reflection mode in a surface mount package according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0006] Figure 1C is a schematic diagram of a laser based white light source operating with side-pumped phosphor in a surface mount package according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0007] Figure 2 is a simplified block diagram of a LIDAR in related art.

[0008] Figure 3 A is a schematic diagram of an apparatus comprising both a LIDAR system and laser based visible light source according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0009] Figure 3B is an exemplary diagram of using the apparatus in automobile according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0010] Figure 4 is a simplified schematic diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0011] Figure 5 is a simplified schematic diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system according to some alternative embodiments of the present invention.

[0012] Figure 6 is a plot of absorption spectrum of pure water absorption as a function of the wavelength of light.

[0013] Figure 7 is schematic diagram of a mobile machine equipped with a laser illumination lighting system and a LIDAR system according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0014] Figure 8 is schematic diagram of a mobile machine equipped with a laser illumination lighting system and a LIDAR system according to some alternative

embodiments of the present invention. [0015] Figure 9 is schematic diagram of a mobile machine equipped with a laser illumination lighting system and a LIDAR system according to some alternative

embodiments of the present invention.

[0016] Figure 10 is a simplified block diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system including an additional LIDAR mapping laser according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0017] Figure 11 is a simplified block diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system including an additional LIDAR mapping laser according to some alternative embodiments of the present invention.

[0018] Figure 12 is a simplified block diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system including an additional LIDAR mapping laser according to some alternative embodiments of the present invention.

[0019] Figure 13 A is a functional block diagram of a laser based white light source enabled for visible light communication according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0020] Figure 13B is a functional block diagram of a laser based white light source enabled for visible light communication according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0021] Figure 14A is a functional block diagram for a dynamic light source according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0022] Figure 14B is a schematic of an enclosed dynamic light source with a beam steering element according to an example of the present invention.

[0023] Figure 15 A is a schematic diagram of a scanned phosphor display with reflection architecture according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0024] Figure 15B is a schematic diagram of a scanned phosphor display with transmission architecture according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0025] Figure 15C is a schematic diagram of a scanned phosphor display with reflection architecture according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] Figure 16 is a schematic diagram of using a white laser light source based on blue laser as projected light for visible light communication according to some embodiments of the present invention. [0027] Figure 17A is a schematic of a composite wavelength converting element enabling dynamic spatial control of light spot intensity and spectrum according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0028] Figure 17B is a schematic of the cross-section of the composite wavelength converting element according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0029] Figure 17C is a schematic of the cross-section of the composite wavelength converting element according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0030] Figure 18A is a functional block diagram for a laser-based smart-lighting system according to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0031] Figure 18B is a functional diagram for a dynamic, laser-based smart-lighting system according to some embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0032] The present invention provides system, apparatus configured with various sensor- based feedback loops integrated with gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes based on a transferred gallium and nitrogen containing material laser process and methods of manufacture and use thereof. Merely by examples, the invention provides remote and integrated smart laser lighting devices and methods, projection display and spatially dynamic lighting devices and methods, LIDAR, LiFi, and visible light communication devices and methods, and various combinations of above in applications of general lighting, commercial lighting and display, automotive lighting and communication, defense and security, industrial processing, and internet communications, and others.

[0033] In various embodiments, the laser device and phosphor device are co-packaged or mounted on a common support member with or without intermediate submounts and the phosphor materials are operated in a transmissive mode, a reflective mode, or a side-pumped mode to result in a white emitting laser-based light source. In additional various

embodiments, the electromagnetic radiation from the laser device is remotely coupled to the phosphor device through means such as free space coupling or coupling with a waveguide such as a fiber optic cable or other solid waveguide material, and wherein the phosphor materials are operated in a transmissive mode, a reflective mode, or a side-pumped mode to result in a white emitting laser-based light source. Merely by way of example, the invention can be applied to applications such as white lighting, white spot lighting, flash lights, automobile headlights, all-terrain vehicle lighting, flash sources such as camera flashes, light sources used in recreational sports such as biking, surfing, running, racing, boating, light sources used for drones, planes, robots, other mobile or robotic applications, safety, counter measures in defense applications, multi-colored lighting, lighting for flat panels, medical, metrology, beam projectors and other displays, high intensity lamps, spectroscopy, entertainment, theater, music, and concerts, analysis fraud detection and/or authenticating, tools, water treatment, laser dazzlers, targeting, communications, LiFi, visible light communications (VLC), sensing, detecting, distance detecting, Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR),, transformations, autonomous vehicles, transportations, leveling, curing and other chemical treatments, heating, cutting and/or ablating, pumping other optical devices, other optoelectronic devices and related applications, and source lighting and the like.

[0034] After fabrication of the laser diode on a submount member, in an embodiments of this invention the construction of the integrated white source would proceed to integration of the phosphor with the laser diode and common support member. Phosphor selection is a key consideration within the laser based integrated white light source. The phosphor must be able to withstand the extreme optical intensity and associated heating induced by the laser excitation spot without severe degradation. Important characteristics to consider for phosphor selection include:

• A high conversion efficiency of optical excitation power to white light lumens. In the example of a blue laser diode exciting a yellow phosphor, a conversion efficiency of over 150 lumens per optical watt, or over 200 lumens per optical watt, or over 300 lumens per optical watt is desired.

• A high optical damage threshold capable of withstanding 1-20 W of laser power in a spot comprising a diameter of 1 mm, 500 pm, 200 pm, 100 pm, or even 50 pm.

• High thermal damage threshold capable of withstanding temperatures of over 150 °C, over 200 °C, or over 300 °C without decomposition. • A low thermal quenching characteristic such that the phosphor remains efficient as it reaches temperatures of over 150 °C, 200 °C, or 250 °C.

• A high thermal conductivity to dissipate the heat and regulate the temperature.

Thermal conductivities of greater than 3 W/m-K, greater than 5 W/m-K, greater than 10 W/m-K, and even greater than 15 W/m-K are desirable.

• A proper phosphor emission color for the application.

• A suitable porosity characteristic that leads to the desired scattering of the coherent excitation without unacceptable reduction in thermal conductivity or optical efficiency.

• A proper form factor for the application. Such form factors include, but are not

limited to blocks, plates, disks, spheres, cylinders, rods, or a similar geometrical element. Proper choice will be dependent on whether phosphor is operated in transmissive or reflective mode and on the absorption length of the excitation light in the phosphor.

• A surface condition optimized for the application. In an example, the phosphor

surfaces can be intentionally roughened for improved light extraction.

[0035] In some embodiments, certain types of phosphors will be best suited in this demanding application with a laser excitation source. As an example, ceramic yttrium aluminum garnets (YAG) doped with Ce 3+ ions, or YAG based phosphors can be ideal candidates. They are doped with species such as Ce to achieve the proper emission color and are often comprised of a porosity characteristic to scatter the excitation source light, and nicely break up the coherence in laser excitation. As a result of its cubic crystal structure the YAG:Ce can be prepared as a highly transparent single crystal as well as a polycrystalline bulk material. The degree of transparency and the luminescence are depending on the stoichiometric composition, the content of dopant, and entire processing and sintering route. The transparency and degree of scattering centers can be optimized for a homogenous mixture of blue and yellow light. The YAG:CE can be configured to emit a green emission. In some embodiments the YAG can be doped with Eu to emit a red emission.

[0036] In a preferred embodiment according to this invention, the white light source is configured with a ceramic poly crystalline YAG:Ce phosphors comprising an optical conversion efficiency of greater than 100 lumens per optical excitation watt, of greater than 200 lumens per optical excitation watt, or even greater than 300 lumens per optical excitation watt. Additionally, the ceramic YAG:Ce phosphors is characterized by a temperature quenching characteristics above 150 °C, above 200 °C, or above 250 °C and a high thermal conductivity of 5 -10 W/m-K to effectively dissipate heat to a heat sink member and keep the phosphor at an operable temperature.

[0037] Figure 1 A is a schematic diagram of an exemplary laser based white light source operating in reflection mode and housed in a surface mount package according to an embodiment of the present invention. Referring to Figure 1 A, a reflective mode white light source is configured in a surface mount device (SMD) type package. The SMD package has a common support base member 1601. The reflective mode phosphor member 1602 is attached to the base member 1601. Optionally, an intermediate submount member may be included between the phosphor member 1602 and the base member 1601. The laser diode 1603 is mounted on an angled support member 1604, wherein the angled support member 1604 is attached to the base member 1601. The base member 1601 is configured to conduct heat away from the white light source and to a heat sink. The base member 1601 is comprised of a thermally conductive material such as copper, copper tungsten, aluminum, SiC, steel, diamond, composite diamond, A1N, sapphire, or other metals, ceramics, or semiconductors.

[0038] The mounting to the base member 1601 can be accomplished using a soldering or gluing technique such as using AuSn solders, SAC solders such as SAC305, lead containing solder, or indium, but can be others. Alternatively, sintered Ag pastes or films can be used for the attach process at the interface. Sintered Ag attach material can be dispensed or deposited using standard processing equipment and cycle temperatures with the added benefit of higher thermal conductivity and improved electrical conductivity. For example, AuSn has a thermal conductivity of about 50 W/m-K and electrical conductivity of about 16 mWah whereas pressureless sintered Ag can have a thermal conductivity of about 125 W/m-K and electrical conductivity of about 4 mWah, or pressured sintered Ag can have a thermal conductivity of about 250 W/m-K and electrical conductivity of about 2.5 mWah. Due to the extreme change in melt temperature from paste to sintered form, 260 °C - 900 °C, processes can avoid thermal load restrictions on downstream processes, allowing completed devices to have very good and consistent bonds throughout. The mounting joint could also be formed from thermally conductive glues, thermal epoxies such as silver epoxy, and other materials. [0039] Electrical connections from the electrodes of the laser diode are made to using wirebonds 1605 to electrode members 1606. Wirebonds 1607 and 1608 are formed to internal feedthroughs 1609 and 1610. The feedthroughs are electrically coupled to external leads. The external leads can be electrically coupled to a power source to electrify the white light source and generate white light emission.

[0040] The top surface of the base member 1601 may be comprised of, coated with, or filled with a reflective layer to prevent or mitigate any losses relating from downward directed or reflected light. Moreover, all surfaces within the package including the laser diode and submount member may be enhanced for increased reflectivity to help improve the useful white light output.

[0041] In this configuration the white light source is not capped or sealed such that is exposed to the open environment. In some examples of this embodiment of the integrated white light source apparatus, an electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection element such as a transient voltage suppression (TVS) element is included. Of course, Figure 1 A is merely an example and is intended to illustrate one possible simple configuration of a surface mount packaged white light source. Specifically, since surface mount type packages are widely popular for LEDs and other devices and are available off the shelf they could be one option for a low cost and highly adaptable solution.

[0042] Figure 1B is an alternative example of a packaged white light source including 2 laser diode chips according to the present invention. In this example, a reflective mode white light source is configured also in the SMD type package. The SMD package has a base member 1601 with the reflective mode phosphor member 1602 mounted on a support member or on a base member. A first laser diode device 1613 may be mounted on a first support member 1614 or a base member 1601. A second laser diode device 1615 may be mounted on a second support member 1616 or a base member 1601. The support members and base member are configured to conduct heat away from the phosphor member 1602 and laser diode devices 1613 and 1615.

[0043] The external leads can be electrically coupled to a power source to electrify the laser diode sources to emit a first laser beam 1618 from the first laser diode device 1613 and a second laser beam 1619 from a second laser diode device 1615. The laser beams are incident on the phosphor member 1602 to create an excitation spot and a white light emission. The laser beams are preferably overlapped on the phosphor member 1602 to create an optimized geometry and/or size excitation spot. For example, the laser beams from the first and second laser diodes are rotated by 90 degrees with respect to each other such that the slow axis of the first laser beam 1618 is aligned with the fast axis of the second laser beam 1619.

[0044] The top surface of the base member 1601 may be comprised of, coated with, or filled with a reflective layer to prevent or mitigate any losses relating from downward directed or reflected light. Moreover, all surfaces within the package including the laser diode member and submount member may be enhanced for increased reflectivity to help improve the useful white light output. In this configuration the white light source is not capped or sealed such that is exposed to the open environment. In some examples of this embodiment of the integrated white light source apparatus, an ESD protection element such as a TVS element is included. Of course, Figure 1B is merely an example and is intended to illustrate one possible simple configuration of a surface mount packaged white light source.

Specifically, since surface mount type packages are widely popular for LEDs and other devices and are available off the shelf they could be one option for a low cost and highly adaptable solution.

[0045] Figure 1C is an alternative example of a packaged white light source according to the present invention. In this example, a reflective mode white light source is configured also in a SMD type package. The SMD package has a base member 1601 serving as a common support member for a side-pumped phosphor member 1622 mounted on a submount or support member 1623 and a laser diode device 1624 mounted on a submount or support member 1625. In some embodiments, the laser diode 1624 and or the phosphor member 1622 may be mounted directly to the base member 1601 of the package. The support members and base member 1601 are configured to conduct heat away from the phosphor member 1622 and laser diode device 1624. The base member 1601 is substantially the same type as that in Figure 1 A and Figure 1B in the SMD type package.

[0046] Electrical connections from the p-electrode and n-electrode can be electrically coupled to 1626 and 1627 electrodes on a submount member 1625 which would then be coupled to internal feedthroughs in the package. The feedthroughs are electrically coupled to external leads. The external leads can be electrically coupled to a power supply source to electrify the laser diode and generate a laser beam incident on the side of the phosphor member 1622. The phosphor member 1622 may preferably be configured for primary white light emission 1628 from the top surface of the phosphor member 1622. The top surface of the base member 1601 may be comprised of, coated with, or filled with a reflective layer to prevent or mitigate any losses relating from downward directed or reflected light. Moreover, all surfaces within the package including the laser diode member and submount member may be enhanced for increased reflectivity to help improve the useful white light output. In this configuration the white light source is not capped or sealed such that is exposed to the open environment. In some examples of this embodiment of the integrated white light source apparatus, an ESD protection element such as a TVS element is included. Of course, the example is Figure 1B is merely an example and is intended to illustrate one possible simple configuration of a surface mount packaged white light source. Specifically, since surface mount type packages are widely popular for LEDs and other devices and are available off the shelf they could be one option for a low cost and highly adaptable solution.

[0047] The white light sources shown in Figures 1 A, 1B, and 1C can be enclosed in a number of ways to form a light engine. Optionally, the light engine is encapsulated in a molded epoxy or plastic cover (not shown). The molded cover may have a flat top or can be molded to have a curved or spherical surface to aid in light extraction. It is possible for the cover to be pre-molded and glued in place, or to be molded in place from liquid or gel precursors. Because a polymer cover or molded encapsulating material may absorb laser light or down converted light from the wavelength converting element there is a large risk that the encapsulating material will age due to heating and light absorption. When such a material ages, it tends to become more optically absorbing, leading to a runaway process that inevitably leads to device failure. In a laser based device, where the laser devices emit light with a very high brightness and optical flux, this aging effect is expected to be quite severe.

It is preferred, then, for a polymer cover to be absent from the region near the emitting facets of the lasers as well as from the path of the laser beams between the laser devices and the wavelength converting element. Optionally, the molded cover does not contact the laser device nor the wavelength converting element nor does it intersect the laser light beams prior to their intersecting the wavelength converting element. Optionally, the molded cover overlays and is in contact with a part or majority of the laser devices and the wavelength converting element, but does not cover the emitting facet of the lasers nor the surface of the wavelength converting element, nor does it intersect the beam path of the laser light between the laser devices and the wavelength converting element. Optionally, the encapsulating material is molded over the device after wire bonding of the laser devices, and no air gaps or voids are included.

[0048] In another embodiment, the light engine is encapsulated using a rigid, member such as a ceramic or metal housing. For example, a stamped metal wall could be provided with dimensions close to those of the outer edge of the common substrate. The wall could be attached to the common substrate and an airtight seal formed using epoxy or another glue, metal solder, glass frit sealing and friction welding among other bonding techniques. The top edge of the wall could, for example, be sealed by attaching a transparent cover. The transparent cover may be composed of any transparent material, including silica-containing glass, sapphire, spinel, plastic, diamond and other various minerals. The cover may be attached to the wall using epoxy, glue, metal solder, glass frit sealing and friction welding among other bonding techniques appropriate for the cover material.

[0049] In some embodiments the enclosure may be fabricated directly on the common substrate using standard lithographic techniques similar to those used in processing of MEMS devices. Many light emitters such as laser diodes could be fabricated on the same common substrate and, once fabrication is complete, singulated in to separate devices using sawing, laser scribing or a like process.

[0050] Identified as a critical sensor technology within the current thrust for autonomous and semi-autonomous operation of devices, vehicles and other objects, LIDAR (Light Imaging Detection And Ranging) technology is rapidly gaining use in applications where physical surroundings and topology must be surveyed or actively monitored with high resolution and fast refresh rate. The technology is based on a rather simple method to measure the distance to a target or object by directing laser light such as a pulse of laser light on the target and then measuring the time it takes for the light to be reflected and returned to the system using detection. LIDAR is popularly used to make high-resolution maps for applications such as geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry.

[0051] More recently, LIDAR has become a critical sensor technology for autonomous vehicles such as cars and drones. To enable the split-second decision-making needed for self driving cars, the LIDAR system provides accurate 3D information on the surrounding environment. Using this data, the processor implements object identification, motion vector determination, collision prediction, and avoidance strategies. The LID AR unit is well-suited to imaging, and can provide a 360° view by using a rotating system, a scanning mirror system, and a multiple sensor assembly. High-speed and high-power laser pulses that are timed with the responses of a detector to calculate the distances to an object from the reflected light. An array of detectors, or a timed camera, can be used to increase the resolution of the 3D information. The pulse is very short to enhance depth resolution, and the resulting light reflections are used to create a 3D point-like "cloud" that is analyzed to transform the data into volume identification and vector information. The transformed result is then used to calculate the vehicles' position, speed, and direction relative to these external objects, to determine the probability of collision, and instruct appropriate action, if needed.

[0052] According to the present invention, the LIDAR system is configured in a device, machine, or mobile machine that includes a laser based illumination source, which could be a laser based smart light described in this invention. The LIDAR systems according to this invention could be supplemented by and/or coupled to other sensors, actuators, and systems including a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver serving as a primary subsystem for navigation and guidance. A GPS system typically computes a present position based on complex analysis of signals received from at least four of the constellation of over 60 low- orbit satellites. A GPS guidance system can be supplemented by inertial guidance which requires no external signal, but rather utilizes an inertial measurement unit (IMU) consisting of a platform fixed to the vehicle or mobile machine. The platform typically has three gyroscopes and three accelerometers, one pair oriented each for of the orthogonal X, Y, and Z axes. These sensors provide data on the rotational and linear motion of the platform, which then is used to calculate motion and position regardless of speed or any sort of signal obstruction. LIDAR systems are often supplemented by radar for close proximity object or obstacle sensing. Radar (radio detection and ranging) is the master of motion measurement and uses radio waves to determine the velocity, range and angle of objects. Radar is computationally lighter than a than a Lidar system and although it is less angularly accurate than LIDAR, it can work in every condition and even use reflection to see behind obstacles. Radar can be used for redundancy to LIDAR. Additionally, camera systems are included with the LIDAR system. Cameras are best suited for classification and texture interpretation. They are by far the cheapest and most available sensor, but they use massive amounts of data, making processing a computational intense and algorithmically complex job. Unlike both LIDAR and radar, cameras can see color, making them the best for scene interpretation. Of course, any configuration of such subsystems can be included according to the present invention. To operate such subsystems individually or in an integrated configuration sophisticated algorithm, and powerful processors to execute software are preferably included.

[0053] The present invention offers strong benefits over previous LIDAR technologies by including a laser based illumination source, which could be a smart laser light source including spatial dynamic function, dynamic color or brightness, and/or visible light communication [VLC] such as LiFi. By combining laser based illumination systems with LIDAR, the LIDAR system can offer increased functionality, increased sensitivity, smaller or more compact size, improved styling of the apparatus it is included within such as an automobile, improved integration in the apparatus it is included within such as an automobile, and lower cost.

[0054] For many 3D sensing LIDAR applications, a scanning laser beam or expanded laser beam and time of flight measurement can be used to allow depth coordinate for each pixel. Another approach is to illuminate the entire field with a pulse of light, and use time of flight measurement to gather the depth coordinate in parallel, one frame at a time. Through the use of a detector array such as a photodiode array, CCD, antenna array, CMOS array, or other parallel detection apparatus, this approach enables rapid imaging of the surrounding environment. In many cases, this is done in the infrared, for example 905 nm, 1000 nm, 1064 nm, or 1550 nm. These wavelengths have been chosen in order to minimize scattering which increases with shorter wavelength, for eye-safety, to avoid visible light scanning on the object being imaged, and in order to utilize mature laser diodes technology which can be cost effective, reliable, and efficient.

[0055] Although infrared sources have been the conventional wavelength employed in LIDAR systems, LIDAR is compatible with a wide source and detection wavelength range where it finds unique benefits and trade-offs within different wavelength ranges from the ultraviolet to the visible and to the near and far infrared. Depending on the atmosphere or medium material that the laser light must travel through along with the objects or terrain being mapped, certain wavelengths or groups of wavelengths may be ideal. For example, the LIDAR sensing wavelengths may be selected from a laser source operating with a

wavelength of about lOum all the way into the ultra-violet (UV) in the 250 nm range, or even shorter. . In fact, in recent years cost effective, reliable, and efficient gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes (i.e., GaN laser diodes) operating in the blue and violet range have emerged, along with high luminance GaN laser diode pumped phosphor white light sources described throughout this invention. Utilizing these visible light sources has several benefits such as reduced absorption in water.

[0056] Typically the transmitted source light is reflected through a backscattering process and is then detected by the LIDAR system. The most common backscattering processes used for LIDAR systems include Rayleigh scattering, Mie scattering, Raman scattering, and fluorescence, all of which can be utilized in the present invention. Based on different kinds of backscattering, the LIDAR can be accordingly called Rayleigh LIDAR, Mie LIDAR, Raman LIDAR, and so on. Suitable combinations of wavelengths can allow for remote mapping of atmospheric contents by identifying wavelength-dependent changes in the intensity of the returned signal.

[0057] Rayleigh scattering is the elastic scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation by particles much smaller than the wavelength of the radiation and does not change the state of material. The particles may be individual atoms or molecules and can occur when light travels through transparent solids and liquids, but is most prominently seen in gases. While Rayleigh scattering refers primarily to the elastic scattering of light from atomic and molecular particles whose diameter is less than about one-tenth the wavelength of the incident light, Mie scattering refers primarily to the elastic scattering of light from atomic and molecular particles whose diameter is larger than about the wavelength of the incident light. In Mie scattering all wavelengths of white light are scattered approximately equally and since large particles in the atmosphere are able to scatter all wavelengths of white light equally clouds appear white. Raman scattering is inelastic scattering of light from objects whereby the scattered photon has a lower (Raman Stokes scattering) or higher (Raman anti-Stokes scattering) energy than the incident photon. In certain embodiments of the present invention LIDAR systems contain suitable combinations of sensing wavelengths to allowing for remote mapping of atmospheric contents by identifying wavelength-dependent changes in the intensity of the returned signal.

[0058] LIDAR can spatially map a wide range of materials, including buildings, structures, humans and animals, vehicles, objects, rocks, rain, chemical compounds, aerosols, clouds and even single molecules. In fact, aircraft based LIDAR systems have been shown to map down to a cm resolution. LIDAR instruments fitted to aircraft and satellites carry out surveying and mapping - a recent example being the U.S. Geological Survey Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar. NASA has identified LIDAR as a key technology for enabling autonomous precision safe landing of future robotic and crewed lunar-landing vehicles.

LIDAR is gaining widespread acceptance as the critical sensor technology for autonomous devices such as autonomous vehicles.

[0059] According to this invention combining LIDAR and gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes, two kinds of LIDAR detection schemes can be deployed : "incoherent" or direct energy time of flight detection (primarily an amplitude measurement) and coherent detection (Doppler or phase sensitive measurements). Coherent systems generally use optical heterodyne detection, which, being more sensitive than direct detection, allows them to operate at a much lower power but at the expense of more complex transceiver requirements.

[0060] In both coherent and incoherent LIDAR the micropulse LIDAR pulse system or high energy pulse system can be deployed for spatial mapping. Micropulse systems have developed based on the vast computer power availability combined with advances in laser technology. They use considerably less energy in the laser, typically on the order of one microjoule, and are often "eye-safe," meaning they can be used without safety precautions. High-power systems are common in atmospheric research, where they are widely used for measuring many atmospheric parameters.

[0061] Figure 2 presents a simplified version of an existing LIDAR system. A power source 2701 is configured to supply power to the various components within the system. The control unit and/or processor 2702 is the central computing or brains of the system that is responsible for dictating the modulation signal or pulsed signal to a laser driver 2703, dictating the modulation and detection scheme. The laser driver 2703 that supplies a current (and a voltage) to a laser source 2704 or optionally to a laser and an external optical modulator to activate the laser output 2704 and encode a signal on the output radiation from the laser output. The modulation scheme to encode the data can be comprised of pulses of various lengths and duty cycles and by other schemes described throughout the specification. The pulsed or modulated laser beam is then optionally fed through one or more optics (beam shaper 2705) to condition the beam, such as providing a beam collimation. The laser beams is then distributed or directed amongst a large area either to scan and illuminate sequential spatial coordinates as individual pixels or to illuminate large areas representing several pixels simultaneously that partially or fully comprising the image. In the former“one pixel at a time” configuration the laser can be scanned with macro mechanical systems 2706 such as rotating scanners or goniometers, or the scanning could be through a micro-scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror or a microdisplay such as a DLP chip or LCOS chip, or other. In the latter configuration, the laser beam can be distributed to a larger area either through a beam expanding optics, or could be expanded with a scanning function using a micro-scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror or a microdisplay such as a DLP chip or LCOS chip, or other. After being spatially distributed with the scanner or microdisplay the laser beam can optionally be fed through one or more optics (beam shaper 2707) for further beam

conditioning before entering the outside world through an output transmitter 2708 at exit path. Once in the outside world the scanned laser beam illuminates a target area and the reflected or bounced light is received in an input receiver 2719 where the light can optionally be coupled through optics (beam shaper 2717) prior to striking some sensors which could be a photodiode or array of photodiodes 2715. The electrical signal generated by the photodiode or detector array 2715 is then optionally amplified in an electrical amplifier 2713 such as a transimpedance amplifier. This electrical data is then transported to the control and processing unit 2702 where the detected signal is processed to generate a map of the environment. The processing can be comprised of a time of flight calculation or a coherent heterodyne detection. Based on the data received, the processing unit 2702 may modify the signal characteristics to the laser driver 2703 to optimize the LIDAR performance or alternate operational modes. Figure 2 is of course a simplified schematic diagram and other components and schemes could be included in the LIDAR system. For example, a GPS or IMU may be included.

[0062] According to various embodiments of the present invention combining LIDAR and gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes, the optimum choice of laser wavelength within the LIDAR system is dependent on the application considering sensitivity, efficiency, size, and safety requirements. LIDAR systems with wavelengths in the 600 to 1000 nm, for example 905 nm, are most common for non-scientific applications. They are inexpensive, but since they can be focused and easily absorbed by the eye, the maximum power is limited by the need to make them eye-safe. , which is a requirement for most applications. A common wavelength alternative, 1550 nm lasers, are eye-safe at much higher power levels since this wavelength is not focused by the eye, but the detector technology is less advanced and so these wavelengths are generally used at longer ranges and lower accuracies. They are also used for military applications as 1550 nm is not visible in night vision goggles, unlike the shorter 1000 nm infrared laser.

[0063] In some embodiments of this invention including for airborne topographic mapping applications, the LIDAR system may include a 1064 nm diode laser diode as opposed to the conventional 1064 nm diode pumped YAG lasers commonly used. In other embodiments where shorter wavelengths such as visible wavelength are preferred including underwater LIDAR applications, the laser wavelength may be configured with a diode laser ranging from about 420 nm to about 532 nm wherein the shorter wavelengths penetrate water with much less attenuation than does 1064 nm. The use of direct diode gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes according to this invention versus conventional systems using 532 nm frequency doubled diode pumped YAG lasers offers reduced cost, size, and weight, while offering the possibility of higher efficiency.

[0064] Key laser operating parameters that determine LIDAR system performance include the laser repetition rate or pulse, which controls the data collection speed and the sensitivity. Pulse length is generally an attribute of the laser cavity, structure, and parasitics, the number of passes required through the gain material. Better target resolution is achieved with shorter pulses, provided the LIDAR receiver detectors and electronics have sufficient bandwidth. Since gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes can be designed to offer very high modulation bandwidths of 3 to GHz and greater, ultra-short pulses offering improved resolution compared to prior art are possible according to this invention. The embodiments included in this invention offer advantages over prior art that rely on frequency doubled green lasers and YAG lasers, which are not as efficient, low cost, compact, and/or capable of the short pulse lengths of the diode lasers according to this invention.

[0065] In some embodiments of the present invention conventional LIDAR technology and laser sources are combined with gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes and laser based light sources, including smart lighting source. That is, the LIDAR system could utilize more conventional wavelengths and laser sources such as 905 nm, 1000 nm, 1064 nm, or 1550 nm lasers and the violet or blue laser diode contained in the laser based lighting system would be used solely for the laser based visible illumination source, which could be a smart laser light source including sensors, feedback loops, and or dynamic color or spatial patterning according to this invention. In these embodiments, the novel combination of the laser based light source and the LIDAR technology enable new and improved system performance such as enhanced capabilities, smaller and/or more compact lighting and LIDAR systems, lower cost systems, and more rugged or robust systems. In one example, the combined LIDAR and laser based lighting system would enable a smaller size, a lower cost, and/or an easier system for the user, or a more reliable combined system than the equivalent but separated LIDAR and laser based lighting systems would offer. In another example, the functionality or sensitivity of the combined LIDAR system and laser based lighting system would be configured for an improved performance compared to the LIDAR system and laser based lighting system as separate systems. These embodiments could find application in

autonomous objects or vehicles, internet of things applications, or other consumer, defense, auto, or specialty application.

[0066] In preferred embodiments of the present invention, gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes within a laser based lighting systems form a LIDAR sensing wavelength. That is, the same violet or blue emitting laser diodes exciting wavelength converter material to generate a lighting function are also spatially scanned and illuminate the target to form a LIDAR surveying function. In some preferred embodiments only the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode emitted wavelength is used for the LIDAR scanning, wherein in one example the direct coherent laser beam could be scanned on the target and in another example a reflected or scattered laser beam may be re-collimated and used for the LIDAR scanning. In yet another embodiment the optical emission from the wavelength converter material such as a yellow or a green red emission is also used for LIDAR scanning either separately or in addition to the emission from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode such as a violet or a blue emission. By including multiple wavelengths in the scanning system enhanced detection can be enabled.

[0067] The laser scanning and optical design play a critical role in the LIDAR system’s sensitivity, resolution, and refresh rate. Included in this invention for LIDAR systems with gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes are several options to scan the azimuth and elevation, including dual oscillating plane mirrors, a combination with a polygon mirror, a dual axis scanner, MEMS mirrors, DLP chips, fiber scanners, LCOS, etc. Any and all of the beam steering elements described throughout this invention are candidate options for scanning systems in LIDAR. Optic choices affect the angular resolution and range that can be detected. Optical components used for the transmission and collection signal optical paths may include apertures, hole mirrors, beam splitters, reflectors, fast axis collimating lenses, slow axis collimating lens, reimaging optics, magnifying optics, dichroic mirrors, diffusers, etc.

[0068] In some embodiments, in addition to the laser illumination source, the laser beam scanning or expanding apparatus such as a MEMS micro-scanning mirror or beam expanding optics, and the optical architectures used for transmission and collection, a suitable light detection system is required. The complexity and architecture of this system will be influenced by the type of LIDAR system [coherent versus incoherent], the wavelength range of the system, along with the sensitivity and speed requirements of the detection. According to this invention, the primary photodiode technologies utilized in LIDAR include solid state photodetectors, such as silicon avalanche photodiodes, silicon photodiodes, GaAs

photodiodes, GaN photodiodes, photomultipliers, or others. The detection system can be configured to detect the return or reflected signal one pixel at a time such as with a single detector configuration or can be configured to detect the return or reflected signal from large quantities of pixels simultaneously to capture partial or complete frames at a time.

[0069] For low-light detection in the receiver, a designer has three basic detector choices: the silicon PIN detector, the silicon avalanche photodiode (APD), and the photomultiplier tube (PMT). APDs are widely used in instrumentation and aerospace applications, offering a combination of high speed and high sensitivity unmatched by other detectors. The APD in the receiver converts the received light pulse to an electrical signal. It outputs a current proportional to the incident light. A transimpedance amplifier is then used to convert the current to a voltage signal. A good transimpedance amplifier should have high gain, high input impedance, ultra-low voltage and current noise, and low input capacitance. It normally has a FET or MOS input stage to meet these requirements. Input noise voltages <1.0 nvvHz and current noise <15 fAvHz are achievable with high performance devices. The output of the transimpedance amplifier is generally converted to a differential signal and amplified before digitization by an ADC. The transmitted pulse is generally greatly attenuated

(atmospheric conditions etc.) leading to a large difference in strength between transmitted and received pulses. Objects in the near vicinity of the transmitter can also reflect high power signals back to the receiver. This leads to demanding dynamic range requirements for the receive system. The receive system should be sensitive enough to deal with full power and very low reflected pulses. Dynamic range requirements in the order of 100 dB are not uncommon. This dynamic range is generally achieved by using a Variable Gain Amplifier (VGA) or Digital VGA (DVGA) in the front end prior to the ADC. (LIDAR System Design for Automotive/Industrial/Military Applications, Texas Instruments)

[0070] In several applications, LIDAR sensors are mounted on mobile platforms such as airplanes or satellites and require instrumentation to determine the absolute position and orientation of the sensor. Such devices generally include a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) such as an accelerometer.

[0071] LIDAR imaging can be achieved using both scanning and non-scanning systems.

For example, "3D gated viewing laser radar" is a non-scanning laser ranging system that applies a pulsed laser and a fast gated camera. Additionally, laser beams can be expanded to capture large areas without having to actively scan the beam across the area. There are several approaches for non-mechanical beam steering or scanning of the laser signal. In one example, multiple single frequency lasers are used for coherent beam steering. The general principle is to deploy an array of transmitters for which the phase of each of the waves produced by the laser can be controlled. The combined wavefront from the transmitter array is then manipulated to travel in a particular direction through dynamic control of the individual phases. In another embodiment, the output from a single highly coherent emitter is split into multiple paths wherein the phase of the emitted light in each path can be

individually manipulated to control the wavefront comprised when the beams are

recombined. Alternatively, a wavelength tunable laser output can be directed through a grating wherein the direction of the output emission from the grating is wavelength dependent. By dynamically tuning the wavelength of the laser the output beam direction can be controlled. Research has begun for virtual beam steering using DLP technology. All of these beam steering and scanning technologies are applicable to the present invention including a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode.

[0072] In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, imaging LIDAR systems illuminate the entire field with a pulse of light, and use a measurement such as a time of flight measurement to gather the depth coordinate of tens to millions of spatial points in parallel, one frame at a time. These receiver systems must utilize arrays for parallel detection of the return signal from the many spatial points. In one embodiment high speed detectors and modulation sensitive detector arrays are included in the LIDAR systems. These arrays are can be built on single chips using CMOS and hybrid CMOS/CCD for low cost, reliable, and high performance parallel detection. In this configuration each pixel can perform some local processing such as demodulation or gating at high speed, down-converting the signals to video rate so that the array may be read like a camera. Using this technique many dense pixel arrays or channels can be acquired simultaneously. In some embodiments of the present invention, homodyne detection with an electronic CCD or CMOS shutter is employed for high resolution 3D LIDAR.

[0073] In another embodiment of a parallel detection LIDAR system, an optical array (e.g. microdisplay) such as a DLP chip or LCOS chip can be used to collect the simultaneous return signals from the various spatial points. The optical array would then direct the reflected light from the various spatial points to a detector wherein the detector could be a detector array or a single detector. Through proper data processing, algorithm design, and synchronization the depth coordinate from the various spatial points would be computed.

[0074] In some embodiments a MEMS scanner mirror is included in the detection scheme in the receiver unit. For example, the MEMS scanner would be combined with the optical array to individually pick off the signal from each pixel and direct it to a single photodiode.

In another more desirable example, a MEMS scanning mirror would be configured to raster over the LIDAR illuminated area and capture the return signals from the various spatial coordinates wherein the various rotational positions of the MEMS mirror would correlate to the various pixels in an image or frame. The MEMS mirror would then reflect the return signal to a detector such as a photodetector, CMOS detector, or detector array. In yet another preferred and simplified embodiment, a single or multiple MEMS or micro-display is used both on the transmitter side of the LIDAR system to raster or distribute the illumination pulses over the target area and to collect the reflected signal in the receiver side of the LIDAR system.

[0075] In one specific embodiment a microdisplay is used to either raster the laser imaging signal such as a pulse with a beam steering member such as a MEMS scanning mirror or with a 2D array microdisplay such as a DLP chip or LCOS chip to illuminate the target area. In one configuration the detection system is configured with a CMOS detector array. In another configuration the detection system uses the microdisplay coupled back to a photodiode.

[0076] In another advanced scheme a coherent imaging LIDAR is included. The coherent imaging LIDAR includes a synthetic array heterodyne detection to enable a staring single element receiver to act as though it were an imaging array. [0077] In some embodiments of the present invention a laser based light source is included with a LIDAR system on a device or mobile machine such as a vehicle, automobile, aircraft, marine vessel, underwater vessel, drone, satellite, helicopter, weather balloon, or other apparatus. In these embodiments the LIDAR source could be a conventional LIDAR system that is not necessarily housed or contained in same packaging as the laser based light source, but must at least be contained within or onboard the same apparatus to provide a combined functionality of laser based lighting and LIDAR imaging. For example, the LIDAR imaging system would provide a 3-dimensional mapping of the environment and the laser based lighting system would provide a specialized lighting function such as a long range light for increased visibility or safety, spotlighting, or a smart lighting function, which could be comprised of any of the smart lighting functions described in this invention such as spatially dynamic lighting, visible light communication [VLC] such as LiFi, dynamic color control, which could be combined with sensors for closed feedback loops. The unique properties of laser based illumination systems such as the high directionality or high resolution dynamic display and pattern capability combined with real time LIDAR imaging can improve safety and functionality of SMART systems used in many applications including autonomous applications.

[0078] Figure 3 A shows a schematic diagram of an apparatus or mobile machine comprising both a LIDAR system and laser based visible light source according to some embodiments of this invention. The apparatus 2800 such as a mobile machine is comprised of at least one power source 2801 that serves as the energy source for both the laser light illumination system 2810 and the LIDAR system 2820. The laser light illumination system 2810 is comprised of a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode 2811 operating with a first electromagnetic radiation output in the blue wavelength region (420 to 485 nm) or the violet wavelength region (390 to 420 nm). The first output electromagnetic radiation is an incident beam onto a wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor material where at least a fraction of the first blue or violet peak wavelength is converted to a second peak wavelength to generate a white light as an output beam with a mixed first peak wavelength and the second peak wavelength. In some preferred embodiments the wavelength conversion member or phosphor material is operated in a reflection mode to produce the output beam relative to the incident beam. In other preferred embodiments the wavelength conversion member or phosphor material is operated in a transmission mode to produce the output beam relative to the incident beam. Once the white light is generated it is coupled through an optical member such as a collimating optic to shape the output beam.

[0079] The LIDAR system 2820 is comprised of a laser subsystem having at least a transmitter module 2822 containing a laser, wherein the transmitter 2822 is configured to generate and direct laser light pulses as one or more sensing light signals to the surrounding environment. The LIDAR system 2820 also includes a detection subsystem including at least a receiver module 2823, which functions to detect light signals upon returns of the one or more sensing light signals after reflection off the surrounding environment. Further the LIDAR system 2820 includes a processer 2821 to synchronize the transmitter 2822 and receiver 2823, process both the transmitted laser light pulses and reflected light signals, and perform time-of-flight calculations to determine the distances to all surrounding objects and generate a 3 -dimensional map thereof.

[0080] The laser light illumination system 2810 can optionally be coupled to the LIDAR system 2820 through a signal processor and/or generator 2802 that is configured to control the laser light illumination system based on feedback or information provided from the LIDAR system 2820. In one example the LIDAR system 2820 detects an oncoming mobile object. To prevent glare to the oncoming object the processing unit 2802 adjusts the current to the laser light illumination system 2810 to dim or reduce the brightness of the laser light illumination system 2810 to prevent glare hazards. In an alternative example, the LIDAR system 2820 detects a moving object that the operator of the mobile machine may not be aware of and could prevent a safety hazard such as a collision hazard. In this case the processing unit 2802 generates a signal to the laser light illumination system 2810 to modify the light characteristic such as activating a spotlight function on the moving object to bring it to the operator’s attention. Additionally, the laser light illumination system 2810 could be a dynamic source with the ability to dynamically change the beam angle and/or the spatial pattern/location of the light output such that the moving object can be dynamically tracked with a spotlight.

[0081] In one example of the present embodiment, components of the laser based lighting system 2810 and the LIDAR system 2820 could be housed within a common package as an integrated system 2800 or as separate systems. For example, the LIDAR system 2820 and laser based lighting system 2810 could be housed within the headlamp of an automobile such as an autonomous vehicle. In another example the laser based lighting system and LIDAR system could be contained in the lighting housing on a drone.

[0082] In one example, a laser based lighting system and a LIDAR system are provided on a mobile machine such as an autonomous vehicle or drone wherein the LIDAR system is used for scanning and navigation and the laser based lighting system is used for spotlighting objects or terrain to provide a communication or warning. In one preferred embodiment, the LIDAR function and illumination function are connected via a loop wherein the LIDAR image is acting as a sensor signal to feedback into dynamic laser based illumination pattern. For example, if the LIDAR mapping detected an animal on the side of the road, the laser illumination source could be configured to preferentially spotlight it. In another example, if an oncoming car is detected by the LIDAR mapping the laser based illumination pattern can be configured to blank out or darken the beam on the oncoming traffic. Of course, there are many examples of how a dynamic illumination pattern and a dynamic LIDAR scanning pattern can be used in conjunction for added functionality and safety in many applications including automotive, recreation, commercial, space and defense, etc.

[0083] Figure 3B shows an example using the apparatus integrating both a LIDAR system and laser based visible light source of FIG. 3 A according to some embodiments of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 3B, an automobile comprised both a LIDAR system and a laser based light source. In this embodiment the LIDAR system is used to spatially map the environment and the laser based light system is used to illuminate the specific objects and the general surroundings with visible white light.

[0084] In one embodiment, the laser based lighting system could be used for

communication via VLC or LiFi to transmit a data signal to be detected by a surrounding machine, device, or human. For example, the transmitted signal could be used to transmit data about the speed, velocity, trajectory, or intention of the subject apparatus that houses the LIDAR system. In another embodiment a dynamic spatial illumination is used to

communicate with surrounding objects, devices, or humans by projecting shapes or signs onto visible surface. In yet another embodiment, a lighting system with dynamic color tuning is used to communicate to surrounding objects, devices, or humans where the color or brightness of the laser based light would be changed to communicate a message. Such novel combinations of LIDAR and laser based lighting systems could enable capabilities for autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, devices, drones, boats, vehicles, and other machines with the critical ability to image the environment for navigation while simultaneously illuminating and communicating with objects, devices, and humans/animals within the environment.

[0085] In one example, the LIDAR system operates with an infrared wavelength such as a wavelength between 800 nm and 1100 nm (e.g., typically at 905 nm or 1064 nm), 1100 nm to 1450 nm, or 1450 nm to 1800 nm and the laser based light system operates with a laser excitation source wavelength of between 400 and 480 nm and wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor. The laser light source would be configured for a reflection mode or transmission mode coupling of the excitation laser light to the phosphor member. The laser based light source would be configured to react to certain or predetermined environmental conditions detected by the LIDAR system. The laser based light system and LIDAR system components could share a common package member or base member, but also could be completely separate and mounted on different locations of the vehicle or apparatus.

[0086] In some embodiments of the present invention, a laser based light source is fully or partially integrated with a LIDAR system and configured on an apparatus device such as a mobile machine like a vehicle, automobile, drone, aircraft, marine vessel, underwater vessel, or other apparatus. In these embodiments the LIDAR system would be at least partially comprised of one or more components shared with the laser based light source, such as the excitation laser diode in the laser based light source. Such a system wherein at least a portion of the LIDAR function is integrated into the laser based light system would offer potential benefits of overall reduced size, cost, and weight of the systems, along with opportunity for increased functionality, sensitivity, or enhanced capability. In one example according to this embodiment the laser based light system and at least a portion of the LIDAR are housed or contained in the same packaging.

[0087] In one example of this embodiment, the emission from a violet or blue laser diode source with a wavelength from 390 nm to 480 nm used to excite a wavelength converter member such as a phosphor member to generate the laser based white light is also for the laser scanning function in the LIDAR system. The blue or violet laser diode emission may be split into two beams wherein a first beam is primarily used to excite the phosphor and generate a light such as a white light and the second beam is collimated to spatially map a surrounding environment. In one embodiment the collimated laser light for LIDAR sensing uses a scanning member to spatially scan the laser beam over a predetermined subject area based on the rastering pattern of the scanning mirror. The scanning member could be a dual or single axis scanning MEMS device that spatially sweeps the violet or blue wavelength collimated laser beam across the environment and senses the returned (scattered/reflected) laser beam to calculate the distance using a time of flight method, and hence generating a 3- dimensional map. In an alternative embodiment an optical beam shaping element is used to expand the blue or violet laser beam to a predetermined divergence to simultaneously illuminate a total subject area. In a common configuration the laser source and/or scanning member would be configured to generate a periodic short pulse of light or a modulated intensity scheme to enable synchronization of the transmitted and detected signal wherein a time-of-flight calculation or coherent detection calculation can be used to compute distances and map the subject area. In this embodiment of the present invention the laser source is being used both for the lighting function and the LIDAR function. One challenge with using the visible wavelength for LIDAR sensing is the eye safety concern. However, this can be overcome by using short pulses of light to limit eye exposure, by limiting the output power to an eye safe level, and/or by using a scanning methodology and safety algorithm to prevent damage or prolonged eye exposure.

[0088] Figure 4 is a simplified schematic diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system according to some embodiments of the present invention. As shown in the figure, the integrated system 2900 is configured with a power source 2901 to supply power to both the LIDAR system and the laser light illumination system. Optionally, separate or multiple power supplies 2901 could be used along with a controller 2902 including a processor and some drive electronics configured to receive power from the power supply 2901 and receive data or signals from receiver components 2931 of the LIDAR system. Based on external inputs 2990 such as user inputs or predetermined inputs to provide specified functionality and power supplied from the power supply 2901, the controller 2902 determines appropriate drive signals being sent to one or more gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes 2903. The drive signal is configured to drive the current and voltage characteristic of the laser diode 2903 to generate an appropriate intensity pattern from the laser diode to provide a first electromagnetic radiation characterized with a first peak wavelength such as a blue or violet peak wavelength. In one embodiment the drive signal is configured to generate both the appropriate pattern of laser light required in the laser illumination source with the desired brightness and luminous flux along with the laser emission for the LIDAR scanning function with the desired sensing light signal or laser pulse for the LIDAR system to sense reflected light signal based on the sensing light signal and perform time-of-flight calculation based on both the sensing light signal and the reflected light signal. In an alternative embodiment an optical modulator could be included to separately encode a signal on the light for the LIDAR system or for the laser light illumination source.

[0089] As shown in the Figure 4, the first electromagnetic radiation at the first peak wavelength from the laser diode 2903 is then split into two separate optical paths. The first optical path is incident on a wavelength conversion member 2911 (e.g., a phosphor) where at least a fraction of the first electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength is converted to a second electromagnetic radiation (emission from the excited phosphor) with a second peak wavelength. Optionally, the second peak wave length is in yellow color range. In a preferred embodiment, the second electromagnetic radiation is mixed with a partial portion of the first electromagnetic radiation to produce an output electromagnetic radiation of the laser based illumination system as a white light. The resulting output electromagnetic radiation is then conditioned with one or more beam shaping elements 2912 to provide a predetermined collimation, divergence, and pattern. Optionally, a beam steering element can be added to the laser based illumination system to create a spatially dynamic illumination. In some embodiments an additional beam shaping element such as a collimating optic is used to collimate the laser light prior to incidence on the wavelength conversion member 2911. Additionally, optical fibers such as glass or polymer fibers or other waveguide elements can be used to transport the laser light from the laser diode 2903 to the wavelength conversion member 2911 to create a remotely pumper conversion.

[0090] According to Figure 4, the second optical path directs the electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength to the LIDAR transmitter module 2921 where it can be combined with other transmitter components. In some embodiments a collimating optic such as a lens is used to collimate the laser light prior to entry in the transmitter module 2921 of the LIDAR system. Additionally, optical fibers such as glass or polymer fibers or other waveguide elements can be used to transport the laser light from the laser diode 2903 to the LIDAR transmitter module 2921. As described previously, an optical modulator could be included within this second optical path to generate an optical pulse or other optical signal as a sensing light signal required for the desired LIDAR function. Before exiting to the outside environment, the sensing light signal of the LIDAR system can be properly conditioned by transmission optics 2922 for LIDAR system with the appropriate divergence and direction to scan the sensing light signal over the desired target area of the surrounding environment. A map of the desired target area can be captured by the LIDAR system in various ways including scanning the sensing light signal using a dynamic scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror, recording image using a microdisplay such as a DLP, or LCOS, and/or simply expanding or shaping the beam using basic optics 2932 such as lens, mirrors, and diffusing elements. Once all of the signal processing and beam conditioning are completed by the transmission optics 2922, the LIDAR sensing light beam is projected externally to the target area where it reflects and scatters off of the various remote target objects in the surrounding environment and fractionally returns to the receiver module 2931 of the LIDAR system. The receiver module 2931 is comprised of some receiver optical components and a signal processor (such as analog-to-digital converter), a detection member 2932 such as a photodiode, a photodiode array, a CCD array, an antenna array, a scanning mirror or microdisplay coupled to a photodiode or other configured to detect reflected or scattered light signals from the remote target object and convert them to electrical signals. The electrical signals detected by the detection member 2932 are received by the receiver module 2931 and then used to calculate a time of flight for the transmitted and detected LIDAR signal such as a sensing light beam. Optionally, a spatial map of the remote target object can be generated by the signal processor associated with the receiver module 2931. The calculations or processing to determine the time of flight and the spatial map can be done directly in the receiver 2931. Alternatively, the spatial map generation is done in the separate processor unit 2902.

[0091] Of course there are many novel configurations of this embodiment can be realized. For example, the light source of the laser based illumination system could be comprised of multiple gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes wherein one or more of the multiple laser diodes are used for the LIDAR scanning function. In an example, the multiple gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes operating in a range of 390 nm to 550 nm are used in the LIDAR system for multi -wavelength (multi-spectral) or hyper-spectral LIDAR illumination scanning. Such wavelength diversity coupled with corresponding signal conditioning and detection can allow increased sensitivity and/or provide the LIDAR user with more information regarding the environmental landscape. In alternative embodiments other wavelength ranges could be generated from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes such as ultra-violet, cyan, green, yellow, orange, or red. Additionally, any number of scanning, rastering, or imagine generating technologies can be included such as DLP, LCOS, and scanning fiber.

[0092] In an alternative embodiment, a laser based lighting system wherein the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode wavelength is used for LIDAR illumination is configured within a conventional LIDAR system making use of standard LIDAR wavelengths such as 905 nm, 1000 nm, 1064 nm, 1550 nm, or other. By combining the wavelengths such as a blue wavelength from a range of 390 nm to 480 nm from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode with an infrared wavelength from a conventional LIDAR system can have an increased sensitivity or functionality. This increased sensitivity and functionality is achieved by using the separate wavelengths to sense different characteristics of the environment based or based on differential analysis in the return signals or echoes such as the amplitude, time of flight, or phase. In some embodiments, no gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes emitting at longer wavelength are used in the system including GaAs or InP based laser diodes.

[0093] In another embodiment, the laser light excitation beam that has been reflected and/or scattered from the wavelength conversion member in the laser light illumination system can be used for realizing the LIDAR sensing function. In the embodiment, a beam splitter or similar component is eliminated to“pick off’ a part of the direct laser beam for LIDAR sensing prior to exciting the wavelength converter member. For example, a violet to blue laser with a first wavelength in the range of 390 nm to 480 nm from a GaN-based laser diode excites a wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor to generate a longer second wavelength emission. In one example the second wavelength is a yellow-color emission that mixes with the remaining violet or blue-color emission from the GaN-based laser diode to make a white light emission. This white light emission, which could have a Lambertian pattern, is then collimated and coupled to a 1 or 2-dimensional scanner such as a scanning MEMS mirror. The scanning member of the scanner would then sweep the collimated beam of light amongst the environment and surroundings and serve as a LIDAR scanning illumination member. The violet or blue first wavelength within the collimated white light beam sweeps across the environment and senses the returned (scatter/reflected) laser beam to calculate the distances from the scattering objects using a time of flight method, and hence generating a 3-dimensional map. The violet or blue laser provided for LIDAR sensing is characterized by high power levels in one range selected from lmW lOmW, lOmW to lOOmW, lOOmW to 1W, and 1W to 10W capable of sensing and mapping the remote target object under damp condition with relative humidity level in each of following ranges of greater than 25%, greater than 50%, greater than 75%, and greater than 100%.

[0094] In a common configuration of this embodiment the laser source and/or scanning member would be operated to generate a periodic short pulse of light or a modulated intensity scheme to enable synchronization of the transmitted and detected signal. The detector could be configured with a notch-pass filter designed to accept wavelengths only within a narrow band (i.e., 2-20nm or 20-l00nm) centered around the laser emission wavelength such as the violet or blue wavelength in the excitation source. Such a configuration would lend itself optimally to a spatially dynamic laser-based light embodiments described throughout this invention that combines a microdisplay such as a MEMS scanning mirror with the laser based lighting/illumination technology. Further, smart laser-based lighting systems would offer sensor feedback for closed feedback loops enabling the LIDAR sensing and smart laser lighting functions to activate and respond to changes in environmental conditions.

[0095] Figure 5 is a simplified schematic diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system according to some alternative embodiments of the present invention. As shown in the figure, the integrated system 3000 is configured with a power source 3001 to supply power to both the LIDAR system and the illumination system (note that in some embodiments separate or multiple power sources could be used) along with a processor and control unit 3002 configured to receive power from the power supply 3001 and data or signals from the receiver portion 3031 of the LIDAR system. Based on external inputs 3090 such as user inputs or predetermined inputs to provide specified functionality and power supplied from the power supply 3001, the processor and control unit 3002 determines the appropriate driving signal based on the external inputs 3090 to drive one or more gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes 3003. The driving signal is configured to determine a current and voltage characteristic of the laser diodes 3003 to generate the appropriate intensity pattern provided as electromagnetic radiation with a first peak wavelength such as a blue or violet peak wavelength. In one embodiment the driving signal is configured to generate both the appropriate pattern of laser light required in the laser illumination source with the desired brightness and luminous flux along with the laser emission for the LIDAR scanning function with the desired signal or laser pulse for LIDAR sensing and time of flight calculation. In an alternative embodiment an optical modulator could be included to separately encode a signal on the light for the LIDAR system or for the laser light illumination source.

[0096] As shown in the Figure 5, the primary electromagnetic radiation at the first peak wavelength from the laser diodes 3003 is directed as an incident light into a wavelength conversion member 3004. The wavelength conversion member 3004 is a phosphor material which is excited to reemit light with a longer wavelength by the incident light of a certain wavelength. Thus, at least a fraction of the primary electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength is converted to a secondary electromagnetic emission with a second peak wavelength, such as a yellow peak wavelength. In a preferred embodiment, the secondary electromagnetic emission with a second peak wavelength is combined or mixed by one or more beam shaping elements 3005 with at least a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength to produce a white light. Optionally, the white light as the combined emission includes at least a first peak wavelength in violet or blue range and a second peak wavelength in yellow range. Additionally, the one or more beam shaping elements 3005 is configured to provide a predetermined collimation, divergence, and pattern for guiding the combined emission for both illumination and LIDAR sensing.

[0097] As seen in the FIG. 5, at least a portion of the combined emission is outputted and shaped as a LIDAR scanning emission. In an embodiment, the a LIDAR scanning emission generated by the one or more beam shaping elements 3005 includes a first sensing light signal with the first peak wavelength and a second sensing light signal with the second peak wavelength based on the received laser-based white light. On the one hand, the LIDAR scanning emission could be fed through a LIDAR transmission components 3021 for signal shaping, filtering, wavelength-dependent transmitting, beam steering (which could be active beam steering with a MEMS or other), etc. before a beam of the first sensing light signal and the second sensing light signal is projected via a LIDAR signal transmission module 3022 into the environment for scanning over a remote area including the target objects and their surroundings. On the other hand, a remaining portion of the combined emission is provided as a beam for illumination. The beam could be further processed by additional beam shaping optical components 3011 to collimate to 15 degrees or less as a better illumination source for target objects with enhanced directionality and reduced attenuation. Optionally, a beam steering element 3012 is additionally included to manipulate the beam of the illumination source to create a spatially dynamic illumination of at least part of the target objects. [0098] In some embodiments, an additional beam shaping element such as a collimator is used to collimate the laser light prior to incidence on the wavelength conversion member 3004. Additionally, optical fibers such as glass or polymer fibers or other waveguide elements can be used to transport the laser light from the laser diodes 3003 to the wavelength conversion member 3004 to create a remotely pumper conversion.

[0099] In an alternative embodiment, the white light outputted from the one or more beam shaping elements 3005 as a combined emission of a primary emission from the laser diode and a secondary emission from the wavelength conversion member 3004 are split into two optical pathways for separate conditioning and steering possibilities respectively with a first beam for the illumination system and a second beam for the LIDAR system. In other embodiments, the LIDAR system and the laser illumination system may follow the same optical pathway such that the illumination area and the 3D scanned area from the LIDAR system are nearly the same.

[0100] In another alternative embodiment, the white light outputted from the one or more beam shaping elements 3005 is fed through a single optical pathway to a beam projector that includes the LIDAR transmission components 3021, the LIDAR signal transmission module 3022, the beam shaping optical components 3011, and the beam steering element 3012 for accomplish multiple tasks of signal processing, filtering, beam shaping, collimating, and projecting to generate the first sensing light signal with the first peak wavelength, the second sensing light signal with the second peak wavelength, and the beam of white light for illumination. Alternatively, the beam projector contains a hybrid collimator to handle the combined emission. The hybrid collimator includes a center collimator configured to collimate a portion of the white light as a LIDAR sensing beam and an outer collimator configured to collimate a remaining portion of the white light as an illumination beam. In particular, the portion of the white light collimated as a LIDAR sensing beam includes a first sensing light signal with the first peak wavelength from primary laser diode 3003 and a second sensing light signal with the second peak wavelength from the secondary emission of the wavelength conversion member 3004. The center collimator is configured to collimate beams of the first sensing light signal and the second sensing light signal to less than 1 or 2 degrees which is preferred for LIDAR sensing light scanning and return light detection with a highly directional beam over one or more target objects and surrounding environment. The outer collimator is configured to collimate a beam of the white light to less than 15 degrees for simply illuminating the one or more target objects.

[0101] As described previously, the laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system includes an optical modulator configured to generate a pulse signal required for the desired LIDAR sensing function. The target LIDAR mapping area can be captured in various ways by scanning the LIDAR sensing light signals via optics for LIDAR signal transmission including a dynamic scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror, a microdisplay such as a DLP, or by simply expanding or shaping the highly collimated beam using basic optics such as lens, mirrors, and diffusing elements. The optical modulator is configured to provide a modulation signal with a first rate to drive the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode to emit the first light with a first peak wavelength which is interrupted with a second rate, wherein the second rate is substantially synchronized with a delayed modulation rate of the second light of yellow color reemitted from the wavelength conversion member. The delayed modulation rate associated with the yellow pulse from the wavelength conversion member is correlated to the rate of excitation blue pulses from the laser diode. Under slow modulation rates the pulses may be more or less synchronized and this may not be an issue. But under fast modulation rate, e.g., GHZ, there will be hundreds to thousands of blue pulses underneath one yellow pulse. The secondary yellow emission will look like background noise as it will essentially not turn-off This could be overcome by including pulse interruptions in the excitation signal. These interruptions would set the bit length for the yellow color signal.

[0102] Once all of the signal transmission and beam conditioning is completed, a collimated LIDAR sensing beam including both the first sensing light signal and the second sensing light signal for the LIDAR system is projected externally to a designed projection area including various target objects and the surrounding environment. Optionally, the LIDAR sensing beam is provided in each scanning cycle as a series of light pulses having at least the first peak wavelength and the second peak wavelength. The first sensing light signal and the second sensing light signal are respectively reflected and scattered off the various target objects in the projection area. At least a fraction of the reflected/scattered light signal is received by a receiver module 3031 of the LIDAR system. The receiver module 3031 is coupled to some optical receiving components 3032 including one or more optical detectors such as a photodiode, a photodiode array, a CCD array, an antenna array, a scanning mirror or microdisplay coupled to a photodiode or other to detect the reflected/scattered light signal and convert it to electrical signal. The receiver module 3031 further includes at least a signal processor to process the electrical signal into digital format and further to calculate a time of flight based on both the transmitted second sensing light signal and the detected signal in digital format. The time of flight information can be used to generate a spatial map or image of the target objects and their surroundings.

[0103] Optionally, the receiver module 3031 includes a first signal receiver configured to detect reflected signals of the first sensing light signal to generate a first image of the one or more target objects, a second signal receiver configured to detect reflected signals of the second sensing light signal to generate a second image of the one or more target objects. Optionally, the first image generated by the first signal receiver is synchronized with the second image generated by the second signal receiver to obtain a color-differential image of the one or more target objects. The difference in attenuation between blue color light and yellow color light can provide information about the environment including the air or other space the light signals are traveling through or the materials the light signals are reflecting from. Similarly, the difference in return-time for the blue color and yellow color signal light can provide information about the material the light is traveling through due to dispersion. Optionally, the calculations or processing to determine the time of flight and the spatial map or image of the target object/area can be done directly in the receiver module 3031 or alternatively in the processor and control unit 3002.

[0104] It is to be appreciated that extremely high luminance is achieved for the laser based light sources outputted from a wavelength conversion member (3004 such as phosphor) to be used in the LIDAR applications. Lasers by themselves are typically used in LIDAR systems largely due to the characteristics of high directionality, low attenuation, and extreme luminance. The emission characteristics enable the laser light to be highly collimated to maintain a controlled beam to accurately and densely survey the environment over large distances (i.e. 10 m to 10,000 m). Other illumination sources such as LEDs are simply not capable of meet such luminance requirements to enable the collimation and directionality. However, advanced laser based lighting systems using high power lasers to illuminate tiny spots on phosphors and generate 300 to 3,000 lumens of light from a spot size (optical aperture) of 50 pm to 1000 pm can enable extreme collimation even though the emission from the phosphor (i.e., wavelength conversion member) may be Lambertian. Thus, in such a laser based lighting system the optical beam can be collimated to less than 1 degree, less than 2 degrees, or less than 5 degrees to enable the directionality and intensity required in LIDAR applications. In some examples of all the embodiments described herein, certain and separate optics may be used for the LIDAR system compared to the lighting or illumination system. For example, a hybrid optical beam collimator could be used to enable a center beam collimation that is separated from the outer beam collimation. The center beam collimation may be a higher collimation such as less than 1 or 2 degrees to serve as the primary LIDAR transmission beam collimator. The outer beam collimation may be a lower collimation such as less than 15 degrees, less than 10 degrees, or less than 5 degrees and serve as the primary illumination beam collimator. Of course, this is just merely one example of how the optical system could be designed to separately optimize the LIDAR transmission beam of light from the lighting system lighting characteristics.

[0105] The benefits of the present example are many fold. As mentioned above, integration of LIDAR systems with laser based smart lighting systems making use of micro-displays is a nice additional benefit of the smart light configuration that already requires a laser source and a scanning system. In this configuration the dynamic laser based light source is being used both for the lighting function and the LIDAR function. By combining the LIDAR and laser lighting function such as smart lighting into a common device, increased functionality, reduced cost, reduced size, and improved reliability can be achieved. These benefits are critically important in several advanced technology applications such as autonomous vehicles, aircraft, and marine craft, along with military, defense, automotive, commercial, and specialty application where size, weight, and styling are key design parameters, and cost is always important.

[0106] A key differentiation and benefit to the LIDAR system described in these embodiments that employ one or more visible gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes is the reduced absorption in water compared to the more common infrared wavelengths used in LIDAR. As a result, under certain conditions these visible wavelengths will pass though moisture such as fog, rain, or bodies of water more freely than the infrared wavelengths allowing increased LIDAR sensitivity in operating environments containing water. Thus, even though some scattering phenomena go as the inverse 4th power of wavelength, water absorption is dramatically lower in the visible than the IR, resulting in higher efficiency performance in conditions where they may be water present, such as fog or rain. For example, using light at 450 nm compare to 905 nm, scattering increases by 16c, such that 6% of the light transmits. However, the water absorption at 905 nm is more than lOOx that in the blue at 450 nm, resulting in more than 5 times higher signal. In one example, the blue wavelength from the laser excitation source provides improved visibility and safety for an autonomous vehicle operating in moist or wet conditions. The improved visibility in the damp conditions could enhance safety for the vehicle and passengers within the vehicle.

[0107] Figure 6 shows the absorption spectrum of pure water where the absorption coefficient is plotted as a function of the wavelength of light (as measured outside of the medium). The shaded area corresponds to the region of visible light ranging from violet at a wavelength of about 380 nm to red at a wavelength of about 760 nm. To the left of the visible region is the ultraviolet region and to the right of the visible region is the infrared region. It is clear from this plot that in pure water the visible wavelengths have a lower absorption coefficient than the infrared region where conventional LIDAR laser sources operate. In fact the absorption is about one hundred times stronger at the red end of the visible spectrum than at the minimum of the curve, which at a wavelength in the blue region at about 450 nm. The reduced absorption will enable the LIDAR system based on gallium and nitrogen containing visible laser diodes, such as blue laser diodes, to spatially map and image the environment with a higher accuracy in wet environments such as on rainy or foggy days or underwater. It should be noted that the absorption spectrum in Figure 6 is that for pure water. In practical environments there will be some impurities in the water such that the optimal wavelength for minimized absorption may vary.

[0108] This embodiment using a dynamic based laser light source as the illumination source for an integrated LIDAR function enables a vast number of capabilities and operational concepts wherein the illumination pattern from the laser based light source could be separate or the same as the pattern scanned for LIDAR imaging. In one concept the sweep pattern of the scanner member provides a static optical illumination pattern from the laser based light source dictated by the scanning profile of the micro-display that simply places the light in constant geometrical pattern over a certain period of time while simultaneously scanning and detecting the LIDAR signal to generate a 3D map of the environment within the illumination pattern of the light. Here, the illumination pattern and the LIDAR imaging pattern may be identical or nearly identical. The benefits of this operation mode would be to allow the user to visually see the 3D LIDAR image in nearly exactly the field they are optically illuminating with the laser based light source. It must be noted that in a first concept the static illumination pattern may be changed or modified based on input from users or sensors such that it is in a sense dynamic, but operated typically in a static illumination mode. The system could be designed such that both the LIDAR and laser light illumination pattern is periodically modified.

[0109] Figure 7 presents a mobile machine equipped with a laser illumination lighting system and a LIDAR system according to an embodiment of the present invention. As seen in the figure, in the embodiment the LIDAR scanning area and the laser light illumination area are nearly identical such that the illuminated area seen by the vehicle occupant would closely correspond to the LIDAR 3D mapped area.

[0110] In a second concept, the illumination pattern from the laser based light source is again instantaneously static such that it is operated typically in a given illumination pattern that can be changed based on sensor detection or user inputs. However, in this concept the LIDAR sweeping is occurring over a different pattern than the illumination pattern. In one example the LIDAR pattern is surveying over a much broader area to generate a 3D map of the surroundings simultaneously to the laser based light illumination pattern being generated just over a smaller selected area. One way to achieve this differential scanning area is by using a lower intensity light signal for the areas only being scanned by LIDAR forming the regions outside of the desired illumination pattern such that the amount of light in these regions is only high enough for LIDAR detection, but not high enough to cause substantial visible illumination. Further, the LIDAR signal will in many applications be a periodically pulsed or modulated signal that could be reduced in average intensity such that the illumination would be negligible. An example of this concept would be using the laser based illumination source as a directed light such as a spotlight or a headlight for a vehicle, aircraft, or marine craft to provide a very clear visual field of view while the LIDAR system is simultaneously surveying a larger field of view for navigation or data collection purposes. Of course there are many configurations of this concept such as the illumination pattern covering a large area than the LIDAR scanning pattern.

[0111] Figure 8 presents a mobile machine equipped with a laser illumination lighting system and a LIDAR system according to another embodiment of the present invention. As seen in the figure, in this embodiment the LIDAR scanning area and the laser light illumination area are not identical, and in the embodiment the LIDAR scanning area is much larger than the illuminated area such that the LIDAR 3D mapped area would be extend far beyond the illuminated area seen by the vehicle occupant.

[0112] In a third concept, the laser based illumination pattern and/or the LIDAR surveying pattern can be actively dynamic wherein the patterns can be continuously changing or adopting to the environment based on user inputs or sensor feedback inputs or they could be static for certain periods of time or conditions. In an example, the laser based light illumination pattern is a dynamically adjusting headlight in an automotive configured to provide the driver or viewer with an optimal pattern for safety or performance while ensuring that that other traffic or pedestrians on the road are not blinded or disturbed by the laser based light (i.e. glare free). As the laser based illumination system is dynamically adjusting, the LIDAR scanning system is operating in either a static sweeping pattern mode or a

dynamically changing sweeping pattern mode. In the former, the LIDAR system could be surveying everything that is in front of the automobile over some field of view, for example 120 degrees, to help the car navigate and detect on-coming hazards. In one preferred embodiment, the LIDAR function and illumination function are connected via a loop wherein the LIDAR image is acting as a sensor signal to feedback into dynamic laser based illumination pattern. For example, if the LIDAR mapping detected an animal on the side of the road, the laser illumination source could be configured to preferentially spotlight it. In another example, if an oncoming car is detected by the LIDAR mapping the laser based illumination pattern can be configured to blank out or darken the beam on the oncoming traffic. Of course, there are many examples of how a dynamic illumination pattern and a dynamic LIDAR scanning pattern can be used in conjunction for added functionality and safety in many applications including automotive, recreation, commercial, space and defense, etc.

[0113] One challenge with using the visible wavelength for LIDAR sensing is the eye safety concern. However, this can be overcome in various ways such that it is not prohibitive. First, since many of the embodiments described in this invention utilize LIDAR scanning signals with an average intensity and spectral composition compatible with accepted lighting systems, the LIDAR function should come at no extra safety risk than just the illumination source. In most applications the laser light will be scattered or incoherent and be equivalent to LED light which has been already commonly used in many spotlight and directional lighting applications like automotive lighting. In short, in many embodiments, the LIDAR function is achieved with standard average illumination intensities and wavelengths commonly used in lighting products today. Additionally, the LIDAR scanning signal will often be comprised of short pulses of light spaced at various time intervals depending on the sampling rate. The short pulses spaced in time limit eye exposure to safe dose levels. In scanning technologies one safety concern is an event wherein the scanner gets stuck at one position and then continuously illuminates a single pixel. This could lead to dangerous exposure levels to any object or person in the path of that pixel. To prevent this from occurring, interlocks are employed where the laser shuts off or a shutter closes if the scanning or beam steering member becomes stuck or frozen. And again, since this approach leverages the highly collimated output light from the laser based light source for LIDAR and illumination, the illumination will be configured to form a predetermined lux pattern that complies with regulated lighting standards. An example of this would be to include LIDAR within automotive headlights using a dynamic laser based light sources such that the headlights are illuminating the road for the driver and generating 3-dimensional map. This concept of lighting and LIDAR mapping from a dynamic laser based light source could be extended to a multitude of applications including autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, aircraft, or marine craft, and even fully human controlled autos, aircraft, and marine craft.

[0114] In an alternative embodiment of this present invention, the laser based lighting system wherein the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode wavelength is used for LIDAR illumination is configured within or integrated with a conventional LIDAR system making use of standard LIDAR wavelengths such as 905nm, l064nm, l550nm, or other. By combining the wavelengths from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode such as a wavelength from 390nm to 480nm with the conventional infrared wavelength the overall LIDAR system can have an increased sensitivity or functionality. This increased sensitivity and functionality is achieved by using the separate wavelengths to sense different

characteristics of the environment based or based on differential analysis in the return signals or echoes such as the amplitude, time of flight, or phase. In some embodiments, no gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes emitting at longer wavelength are used in the system including GaAs or InP based laser diodes.

[0115] Of course many other examples of these basic embodiments exist. For example, alternative excitation wavelengths can be used such as in the ultra-violet region, in the green region, or in the blue region. The wavelength converted light may not be configured to form a white light with the laser excitation. That is, the wavelength converted light from the wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor may not be a combination of blue and yellow or other white combinations, but could be a green color, red color, infrared color, or a combination there of. The phosphor member could be operated in a transmissive, reflective, or combination mode. Alternative scanning devices such as DLP chips or LCOS chips may be used to create the dynamic lighting and LIDAR sweeping function.

[0116] In an alternative preferred set of embodiments, the laser light excitation beam from the laser light source that has been reflected, transmitted through, and/or scattered from the wavelength conversion member and the wavelength converted light are used for the LIDAR sensing function. This multi-spectral or multi-wavelength LIDAR system based on laser based lighting technology would enable an increased sensitivity, increased functionality, and/or a reduced complexity of the LIDAR system. In this example, the violet to blue laser first wavelength in the 390 nm to 480 nm range excites a wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor to generate a longer second wavelength emission. In one example the longer second wavelength is a yellow emission that mixes with the remaining blue emission from the laser to make a white light emission. This white light emission, which could have a Lambertian pattern, is then collimated and coupled to a 1 or 2-dimensional scanner such as a scanning MEMS mirror. The scanning member would then sweep the collimated beam of white light amongst the environment and surroundings and serve as the LIDAR scanning illumination member. The first violet or blue wavelength from the laser diode along with a converted second wavelength such as a yellow wavelength are contained within the collimated white light beam, which sweeps across the environment and senses the returned (scattered/reflected) first wavelength and second wavelength to calculate the distances from the scattering objects using a time-of-flight method, and hence generating a 3 -dimensional map. In a common configuration the laser source and or scanning member would be operated to generate a periodic short pulse of light or a modulated intensity scheme to enable synchronization of the transmitted and detected signal. The detector system could be configured with notch-pass filters designed to accept wavelengths only within a band (i.e. 2 to 20nm or 20 to lOOnm or greater) centered around the first emission wavelength from the laser diode, the wavelength conversion member second wavelength, or both the first and second wavelengths. Such a configuration would lend itself optimally to the spatially dynamic laser based lighting embodiments described throughout this invention that combine a micro-display such as a MEMS device with the laser based lighting/illumination

technology. Further, smart laser based lighting systems would offer sensor feedback for closed feedback loops enabling the LIDAR and smart laser lighting functions to activate and respond to changes in environmental conditions.

[0117] The multi -wavelength LIDAR illumination source offers additional benefits over conventional laser source primarily using just a first laser emission for the LIDAR system transmission and receiving function. In this present embodiment the laser emitted radiation with a first wavelength (i.e. about 400 nm to about 480 nm) along with the wavelength converted second wavelength (i.e. about 520 nm to about 660 nm) can be included in the LIDAR system transmission and receiving function, which enables the possibility for enhanced functionality and sensitivity with multi-color transmission and detection. At least two wavelengths can be used for signal transmission and detection enabling differential sensing to capture more information about the environment. Moreover, since the second wavelength resulting from a wavelength conversion member such as a phosphor wavelength conversion member may have a broad spectral intensity characteristic (i.e. large spectral width of greater than 5 nm, 10 nm, or 50 nm), hyperspectral LIDAR imaging could be enabled.

[0118] As an example, the multi-wavelength or hyperspectral LIDAR system enabled by the laser based light source could be configured to detect the change in relative intensity or amplitude between the first wavelength and the second wavelength to determine information about the absorption of the medium or material that the emission is transmitted through. That is, the reduction ratio of the first wavelength return signal to transmitted signal may be different than the reduction ratio of the second wavelength return signal to the transmitted signal. The difference between the reduction ratios can be meaningful and used to extract characteristics of the scanned environment. As first a specific example, since a blue wavelength will have a known lower absorption than a yellow wavelength in water, if the attenuation of the blue wavelength is less than the attenuation of the yellow wavelength by a corresponding ratio that could be pulled from a look-up table, the LIDAR system could provide the user with the information that there is moisture in the environment and additionally may be able to determine some relative amount of moisture or water in the environment along with a spatial map of the moisture in the environment. In a second specific example, the differential in scattering characteristics of the first and the second wavelength within the transmitted signals is used to determine further information about the medium the transmitted signal is traveling through and/or the objects and media that the transmitted signals are reflecting off to generate the return signal.

[0119] In the above examples the differential in the detected versus transmitted signal intensities or amplitudes of the multiple wavelengths within the laser based light source LIDAR system illumination beam were used to capture further information or resolution of the system. Additionally, the differential in time of flight or returned pulse shape between the multi-wavelengths can be used to determine characteristics of the environment. As a specific example, as the first and second wavelengths in the 2-wavelength example propagate any medium other than pure air, the medium will have slightly different indices of refraction for the two wavelengths due to dispersion. Since the speed of the light signal is determined by the index of refraction the return signals of the first and second wavelength could have a delay or offset compared to their temporal positions upon transmission. This delay or offset could be processed to determine the index of refraction difference for the two wavelengths in the LIDAR system, which could then be related to a library or look-up table of media that would have such an index difference for the two wavelengths in the LIDAR system. Of course, this is just one example and is not intended to be limiting or exclude any other examples of expected benefits from the multi -wavelength LIDAR system.

[0120] In the above examples the differential in the detected versus transmitted signal intensities or amplitudes of the multiple wavelengths within the laser based light source LIDAR system was dictated by dispersive properties and absorption properties. Additionally, the differential in time of flight or returned pulse shape between the multi-wavelengths can be used to determine characteristics of the objects for which the LIDAR sensing light is reflecting from. As a specific example, as the first and second wavelengths in the 2- wavelength example propagate any medium other than pure air, the medium will have slightly different MIE scattering properties due their different wavelengths. The differences in scattering will lead to differences in return amplitude, which could then be used to calculate and determine differences in the particles from which the scattering is occurring. In an example the scattering is MIE scattering.

[0121] In addition to differential sensing described above, there are many applications and system configurations wherein the multi -wavelength or hyperspectral illumination sensing signal in the LIDAR system enabled by the laser-based light source. In one simple example, multiple wavelengths are used for redundancy and increased accuracy. That is, by using two or more wavelengths with separated detection, two or more distinct 3D images can be created of the scanned environment. By processing of these multiple images to compare and contrast the various features detected, a single integrated 3D image of greater accuracy can be generated.

[0122] Figure 9 illustrates an exemplary mobile machine using a multi -wavelength LIDAR system according to an embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the laser illumination source comprising a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode with a first peak wavelength is used for at least one of the multiple LIDAR sensing wavelengths. In the specific example shown in Figure 9 the first peak wavelength primary emission from the laser diode is a blue emission. Additionally, in this example, the wavelength converted secondary emission with a second peak wavelength is used for at least one of the multiple LIDAR sensing wavelengths. In the specific example shown in Figure 9 this second peak wavelength emission from the laser diode is a yellow emission. As described above, by deploying more than one wavelength for LIDAR sensing and mapping the LIDAR system can benefit in several ways including an increased functionality, increased sensitivity, increased resolution, or other.

[0123] It is to be appreciated that it is the extremely high luminance of laser based light sources that use wavelength conversion members such as phosphor to be used in such LIDAR applications. That is, lasers by themselves are typically used in LIDAR systems largely due to their high directionality, low attenuation, and extreme luminance. The emission

characteristics enable the laser emission to be highly collimated to maintain a controlled beam to accurately and densely survey the environment over large distances (i.e. lOm to 10,000m). Other illumination sources such as LEDs are simply not capable of such luminance requirements to enable the collimation and directionality. However, advanced laser based lighting systems using high power lasers to illuminate tiny spots on phosphors and generate approximately 300 to 3,000 lumens, or more, of light from a spot size [optical aperture] of 50 pm to 1000 pm enable extreme collimation even though the emission from the phosphor or wavelength conversion member may be Lambertian. That is, in such a laser based lighting system the optical beam can be collimated to less than 1 degree, less than 2 degrees, or less than 5 degrees to enable the directionality and intensity required in LIDAR applications. In some examples of all the embodiments described herein, certain and separate optics may be used for the LIDAR system compared to the lighting or illumination system. For example, a hybrid optic could be used to enable a center beam collimation that is separate from the outer beam collimation. The center beam collimation may be a higher collimation such as less than 1 or 2 degrees to serve as the primary LIDAR transmission beam collimator. The outer beam collimation may be a lower collimation such as less than 15 degrees, less than 10 degrees, or less than 5 degrees and serve as the primary illumination beam collimator. Of course, this is just merely one example of how the optical system could be designed to separately optimize the LIDAR transmission beam of light from the lighting system lighting characteristics.

[0124] In some embodiments according to the present invention the integrated laser based illumination and LIDAR system onboard a mobile machine could be supplemented with an additional LIDAR system such as a conventional LIDAR system that could include a scanning laser operating in the infrared region. The additional LIDAR system could be configured separately from the laser illumination system, but within the same mobile machine. In this embodiment, the additional LIDAR system would be deployed in

conjunction with the integrated laser based illumination and LIDAR system such that an increased functionality, sensitivity, range, scanning area, redundancy, or safety could be achieved by the mobile machine. For example, a LIDAR system with a more conventional peak wavelength such as about 905nm, 9XXnm, 1000 nm, l064nm, l300nm, or about l550nm could be deployed in the additional LIDAR system to compliment the first peak wavelength from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode in the laser based illumination system such as a blue or violet wavelength. The additional LIDAR system could be used as the primary 3D mapping apparatus functioning to generate a wide angle map of the surroundings and the laser based illumination system LIDAR could be used to add mapping information to specified locations, such as toward the front of the mobile machine where the headlights illuminate. Of course, differential detection schemes could be deployed where the differences in mapping characteristics between the two LIDAR systems using different wavelengths for sensing and mapping could be used to calculate more

comprehensive information and data describing the surrounding area and environment.

[0125] In yet another embodiment an additional laser such as an infrared laser diode could be included in the laser based illumination system for LIDAR mapping. In this embodiment the added laser diode would function to provide a high performance LIDAR scanning source and would be integrated directly into the laser based illumination system. In one example the added laser diode would be an InP or GaAs laser diode operable at a wavelength of about 9XXnm, or about l,000nm, or about l300nm, or about l550nm. In one preferred

embodiment the wavelength is about l550nm for eye safety purposes. Since in this example the added laser is in the infrared wavelength regime the emission produced by added laser would not be visible, and hence would not interfere with the illumination characteristics of the laser based illumination system. The additional LIDAR scanning laser could be integrated into the laser illumination system in several configurations. As described previously in this invention, the laser based illumination source may be comprised of multiple laser diodes and even other light emitting devices such as LEDs. The multiple light sources and lasers could be included in the illumination source for a variety of reasons including an increased luminous flux, a dynamic spatial patterning, to achieve a better color quality light laser illumination source, a dynamic color control, or to provide the transmitted signal in visible light communication. Similarly, according to this embodiment, an additional laser source would be included to provide an a LIDAR mapping wavelength, which could be the sole LIDAR mapping wavelength in the system or it could be a supplemental or complimentary LIDAR mapping wavelength to one or more existing LIDAR mapping wavelengths, such as the visible wavelength from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode in the illumination system.

[0126] In a preferred embodiment the gallium and nitrogen containing blue or violet laser diode used for illumination and possibly LIDAR scanning is co-packaged with the second laser source for LIDAR scanning, such as an infrared laser source. Various co-packaging configurations for the multiple laser sources could be designed and implemented. In some designs, the gallium and nitrogen containing laser source would be packaged in a first primary initial package such as a TO-Can, flat package, surface mount package, or other type of package. Similarly, the LIDAR laser source could be packaged in a second primary initial package such as a TO-Can, flat package, surface mount package, or other package.

Subsequently the first primary package and the second primary package containing the laser sources would then the packaged in a secondary larger package that contained interfaces to receive the first and second primary packages. The sources would then be optically coupled to the phosphor conversion member and/or LIDAR transmitter components before entering into the surrounding environment. In another preferred embodiment, the first gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode chip or chip on submount and the LIDAR laser source such as a GaAs or InP based laser diode or chip on submount are co-packaged onto a common support member.

[0127] Referring back to Figure 1B, it presents an example laser co-packaging embodiment where a gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode such as a blue laser diode, 1603, intended for illumination and optionally LIDAR mapping is configured on an intermediate submount member 1604. The intermediate submount member 1604 is attached to a surface mount base member 1601. Also included is a second laser diode, 1605, which is intended for LIDAR mapping and could be an infrared emitting laser diode attached to an intermediate submount 1606, which is then attached to the surface mount package base member 1601. In this configuration, both the emission from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode, 1608, and the emission from the infrared laser diode, 1609, are incident on the wavelength conversion member, 1602, which could be a phosphor member. In alternative configurations, the LIDAR sensing laser emission, 1609, may follow a different optical pathway that does not interact with the wavelength converter member, 1602.

[0128] In a first embodiment the added infrared laser diode is included in the laser based illumination system and follows a separate optical pathway compared to the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode emission and is not incident on the wavelength conversion member. Figure 10 is a simplified schematic diagram of a laser light illumination system integrated with a LIDAR system including an additional LIDAR mapping laser according to the present invention. As shown in the figure, the integrated system 3100 is configured with a power source 3101 to supply power to both the LIDAR system and the illumination system (note that in some embodiments separate or multiple power sources could be used) along with a processor and control unit 3102 configured to receive power from the power supply 3101 and data or signals from the receiver portion 3131 of the LIDAR system. Based on external inputs 3190 such as user inputs, sensor inputs, or predetermined inputs to provide specified functionality and power supplied from the power supply, the processor and control unit 3102 determines appropriate first signal to send to one or more gallium and nitrogen containing laser diodes 3111. The resulting signal is configured to drive the current and voltage characteristic of the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode 3111 to generate the appropriate intensity pattern from the laser diode to provide electromagnetic radiation with a first peak wavelength such as a blue or violet peak wavelength. A second signal from the processor and control unit 3102 is sent to a LIDAR mapping laser 3121 with a third wavelength to generate the desired intensity or frequency pattern for the LIDAR scanning function such as short pulse of light for the time of flight calculation. In one embodiment the both the signals for the illumination laser diode 3111 and the LIDAR mapping laser 3121 originate from the processor and control unit 3102 as shown in the figure. In a separate embodiment multiple processors and power supplies can be included.

[0129] As shown in the Figure 10, the output electromagnetic radiation at the first peak wavelength from the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode 3111 and the output at the third peak wavelength from the additional LIDAR mapping laser 3121 follows two separate optical paths wherein the output at the first peak wavelength is incident on the wavelength conversion member 3112 where at least a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength is converted to electromagnetic with a second peak wavelength, such as a yellow peak wavelength. In a preferred embodiment, the resulting light in the laser based illumination system is a white light. The resulting laser based illumination light is then conditioned with one or more beam shaping elements 3113 to provide a predetermined collimation, divergence, and pattern. Optionally, a beam steering element can be added to the laser based illumination system to create a spatially dynamic illumination. In some embodiments a beam shaping element (not shown) such as a collimating optic is used to collimate the laser light prior to incidence on the wavelength conversion member 3112.

Additionally, optical fibers such as glass or polymer fibers or other waveguide elements can be used to transport the laser light from the laser diode to the wavelength conversion member 3112 to create a remotely pumper conversion.

[0130] According to Figure 10, the second optical path directs the electromagnetic radiation from the LIDAR mapping laser 3121 with the second peak wavelength to the LIDAR through optics for beam shaping and/or steering of the LIDAR sensing laser. In some embodiments a collimating optic such as a lens is used to collimate the laser light prior to entry in the transmitter module of the LIDAR system. Additionally, optical fibers such as glass or polymer fibers or other waveguide elements can be used to transport the laser light from the laser diode to the LIDAR transmitter module. Before exiting to the outside environment, the LIDAR system laser light can be properly conditioned with the appropriate divergence and direction to scan the desired subject area of the surrounding environment. The target LIDAR mapping area can be captured in various ways using optics 3122 including a dynamic scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror, a microdisplay such as a DLP, or by simply expanding or shaping the beam using basic optics such as lens, mirrors, and diffusing elements. Once all of the signal and beam conditioning is completed, the LID AR beam is projected externally where it reflects and scatters off of the various objects in the surrounding environment and fractionally returns to the receiver module 3131 of the LIDAR system. The receiver module 3131 is comprised of some receiver optical components 3132, a detection member such as a photodiode, a photodiode array, a CCD array, an antenna array, a scanning mirror or microdisplay coupled to a photodiode or other. The detected signals in the receiver module 3131 are then used to calculate a time of flight for the transmitted and detected LIDAR signal such as a pulse. The calculations or processing to determine the time of flight and the spatial map can be done directly in the receiver or often it is done in the separate processor unit 3102.

[0131] In a second embodiment including an additional laser designated for LIDAR mapping such as an added infrared laser diode, the additional laser for LIDAR mapping follows a common optical pathway compared to the gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode emission and is not incident on the wavelength conversion member 3112. As shown in Figure 11 below in another embodiment, the output electromagnetic radiation at the first peak wavelength from Ga and N based laser diode 3211 and the output electromagnetic radiation from the LIDAR mapping laser 3221 at the third peak wavelength is incident on the wavelength conversion member 3231. At least a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation with the first peak wavelength such as a blue wavelength is converted to electromagnetic with a second peak wavelength, such as a yellow peak wavelength. In a preferred embodiment, the resulting visible color of light generated in the laser based illumination system is a white light. The electromagnetic emission intensity with the third peak wavelength such as an infrared peak wavelength would be largely preserved when incident on the wavelength conversion member. That is, the losses of the light through processes such as absorption would be fractional or minimized such that most of the incident light would simply be reflected or scattered from the wavelength conversion member materials or surfaces where it can then be collimated and directed toward the environment for scanning. Some losses of the infrared light would be expected and tolerated, but it is believed that systems with very low loss to the infrared light resulting from interaction with the phosphor could be realized.

Essentially, the resulting emission spectrum would be comprised of light at the first peak wavelength, the second peak wavelength, and the third peak wavelength, wherein the light at the first and second peak wavelength would create a visible white light for illumination and the light at the third peak wavelength could be invisible to the human eye and serve for LIDAR mapping. The resulting laser based illumination light and LIDAR scanning light is then conditioned with one or more beam shaping elements to provide a predetermined collimation, divergence, and pattern.

[0132] According to the embodiment shown in the Figure 11, the infrared laser 3221 would be electronically driven with an amplitude or frequency modulation to generate a LIDAR sensing signal, such as pulses of light invisible to the eye. The gallium and nitrogen containing laser diode 3211 could be driven in a variety of ways including in a continuous wave, quasi-continuous wave, pulsed width modulated, frequency modulated, or amplitude modulated, or other. Both the infrared light from LIDAR sensing or mapping laser 3221 and the visible light from the diode 3211 would be fed through a common or at least a partially common optical pathway prior to entering the environment. Optionally, a beam steering device 3233 could be included such as a MEMS mirror or a DLP micro-display. Once all of the signal and beam conditioning is completed, the LIDAR beam is projected externally where it reflects and scatters off of the various objects in the surrounding environment and fractionally returns to the receiver module of the LIDAR system. A receiver module is comprised of some receiver optical components 3241, a detection member 3242 such as a photodiode, a photodiode array, a CCD array, an antenna array, a scanning mirror or microdisplay coupled to a photodiode or other. The detected signals in the receiver module are then used to calculate a time of flight for the transmitted and detected LIDAR signal such as a pulse. The calculations or processing to determine the time of flight and the spatial map can be done directly in the receiver or often it is done in the separate processor unit 3202. In this embodiment it is possible for both the infrared and the visible light to be used for LIDAR mapping.

[0133] In an alternative embodiment including an infrared laser wavelength and a visible laser wavelength, the optical pathway for the illumination source and the LIDAR sensing and mapping source can be separated. As seen in the Figure 12, the optical pathways for the laser light illumination emission and the LIDAR scanning emission could optionally be separated wherein the LIDAR scanning emission could be fed through further LIDAR transmission components 3351 for signal shaping, beam shaping, beam steering which could be active beam steering with a MEMS or other, filtering, etc. before the emission exits the final optics into the environment for scanning. The laser illumination optical pathway could include further optics 3341 for beam shaping, and optionally, a beam steering element 3342 to create a spatially dynamic illumination. In some embodiments an additional beam shaping element such as a collimating optic is used to collimate the laser light prior to incidence on the wavelength conversion member 3331.

[0134] According to the Figure 12, the combined primary emission from the laser diode 3311 and the secondary emission from the wavelength converter member 3331 could be split into 2 pathways by a beam shaping optics 3332 for separate conditioning and steering possibilities for the LIDAR system and illumination system. As described previously, an optical modulator could be included within the LIDAR transmitter 3351 to generate a pulse or other optical signal required for the desired LIDAR function. The target LIDAR mapping area can be captured in various ways including a dynamic scanner such as a MEMS scanning mirror, a microdisplay such as a DLP, or by simply expanding or shaping the beam using basic optics such as lens, mirrors, and diffusing elements. Once all of the signal and beam conditioning is completed, the LIDAR beam is projected externally where it reflects and scatters off of the various objects in the surrounding environment and fractionally returns to the receiver module of the LIDAR system. The receiver module is comprised of some receiver optical components 3361, a detection member 3362 such as a photodiode, a photodiode array, a CCD array, an antenna array, a scanning mirror or microdisplay coupled to a photodiode or other. The detected signals in the receiver module are then used to calculate a time of flight for the transmitted and detected LIDAR signal such as a pulse. The calculations or processing to determine the time of flight and the spatial map can be done directly in the receiver or often it is done in the separate processor unit 3302.

[0135] Specific embodiments of this invention employ a transferred gallium and nitrogen containing material process for fabricating laser diodes or other gallium and nitrogen containing devices enabling benefits over conventional fabrication technologies. This unique semiconductor device manufacturing technology enables for single-chip integration of multiple semiconductor materials, which can allow for the integration of various wavelength laser diodes on the same chip such as visible laser diodes and infrared laser diodes. In one embodiment according to the present invention, the laser source in the laser illumination and LIDAR system is manufactured according to this lift-off and transfer process. In one example, laser materials with different visible wavelengths, such as different blue

wavelengths, violet wavelengths, and other visible wavelengths are transferred and formed into lasers on the same carrier member to create a multiple visible wavelength laser source, which could have added benefits to the system. Such added benefits include better color quality in the illumination white light, better LIDAR detection using differential detection, or lower cost and smaller size. In another example, laser materials with visible wavelengths, such as blue wavelengths, violet wavelengths, and other visible wavelengths are transferred to the same carrier member as laser material with infrared wavelengths such as 8XXnm, 9XXnm, about l,000nm, l300nm, or about l550nm and formed into lasers to create an integrated laser source containing both visible wavelengths and infrared wavelengths, which could have added benefits to the system. Such added benefits include lower cost systems, smaller systems, and better LIDAR detection using differential detection.

[0136] In yet another example of a laser based illumination and LIDAR system, the fabrication technology including transfer of epitaxial material can be used to integrate electronics or other devices into the laser source chip. For example, GaN or GaAs based electronics could be included to create integrated driver electronics with the light sources. Integrated scanning mirrors can be included. In other examples, silicon electronics can be included.

[0137] According to some embodiments of the present invention, the laser light source can communicate with various methods. In one preferred method, the smart light is configured as a visible light communication (VLC) system such as a LiFi system wherein at least one spectral component of the electromagnetic radiation in the light source is modulated to encode data such that the light is transmitting data. In some examples, a portion of the visible spectrum is modulated and in other examples a non-visible source such as an infrared or ultraviolet source is included for communication. The modulation pattern or format could be a digital format or an analog format, and would be configured to be received by an object or device. In some embodiments, communication could be executed using a spatial patterning of the light emission from the laser based smart light system. In an embodiment, a micro- display is used to pixelate or pattern the light, which could be done in a rapid dynamic fashion to communicate continuously flowing information or wherein the pattern is periodically changed to a static pattern to communicate a static message that could be updated. Examples of communication could be to inform individuals or crowds about upcoming events, what is contained inside a store, special promotions, provide instructions, education, sales, and safety. In an alternative embodiment, the shape or divergence angle of the emission beam is changed to a spotlight from a diffuse light or vice versa using a micro- display or a tunable lens such as a liquid crystal lens. Examples of communication could be to direct an individual or crowd, to warn about dangers, educate, or promote. In yet another embodiment of laser light based communication, the color of the smart lighting system could be changed from a cool white to a warm white, or even to a single color such as red, green, blue, or yellow, etc.