Electronic Design
256-Pixel LED Shows Promise in Smart Automotive Headlamps

256-Pixel LED Shows Promise in Smart Automotive Headlamps

A research team has developed an LED chip with an array of 256 pixels as part of a project to develop more advanced LED headlamps. (Image courtesy of Osram Opto Semiconductors)

Technological advances in intelligent LED headlamps continue to improve illumination of roads for automobiles while distributing the light to avoid distracting other drivers. In this vein, the team behind a μAFS research project, coordinated by Osram Opto Semiconductors, created a prototype LED chip with an array of 256 pixels. Its development makes serious strides in the mission to formulate technical principles for a new class of energy-efficient LED lamps.

Previous solutions had one pixel correspond to one LED component or chip. In the new prototype, however, one chip contains 256 pixels—all of which can be individually controlled. It was developed with defined light patterns in blue and white, and is thought to be the first step toward the development of light sources with more than 1000 pixels.

Fraunhofer IZM’s mounting technology was used to couple the light-emitting pixel chip with the controlling driver chip. Then Osram structured the chip surface and attached the converter to create white light. The resulting prototype demonstrated the feasibility of exhibiting a particularly high resolution, which is necessary for the light pattern to adjust dynamically and with a high degree of precision.

In the next step of the project, Osram will work to transfer the prototype to a light module with electrical, mechanical, and thermal interfaces, focusing on intelligent control and an appropriate connection to the vehicle bus to ensure fine control of the light. Project member Hella will be responsible for optical and thermal-management system development, as well as the design of the complete headlight. Daimler, another member, has already contributed specifications and requirements in regard to the bus connection and optics, and will be responsible for detailed testing of the headlamp in its final stages.

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