Photonics Integrated Circuits (PIC) LIDAR systems are potentially cheaper, lighter, more compact and more reliable as they have no moving parts. They are also immune to electromagnetic interference and can easily handle the high volumes of data produced through LIDAR.
PICs can be used to replace the main LIDAR components, miniaturize and make a compact final device, e.g. the beam-steering part of the LIDAR, through the use of optical phased arrays, which can shape the laser beam and steer it fast for video-rate three-dimensional imaging.
Using PIC technology, it is possible to fabricate all the Building Blocks required for manufacturing a LIDAR chip such as couplers/MMIs, delay lines enabling high resolution in FMCW LIDAR, the phase shifter that can be based on a ring resonator. The optical packaging can include a vertical grating coupler and a spot size converter to relax tolerances and reduce the packaging cost. It is also possible to integrate with other material platforms such as InP lasers or Silicon photonics.