Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

A new wave of wearable technology powered by photonic integrated circuits

Augmented- or virtual reality (AR/VR) is enabling an experience of the world enriched with visual information that offers thrilling experiences and valuable technical insights. From surgical procedures to gaming – the AR/VR market promises to deliver ground-breaking applications and billions of dollars of growth in the coming years.

Whereas previous iterations of wearable displays were bulky, visually unappealing and had poor visual performance, the same is not true of the next generation. The revolution has come about through the use of retinal projection for improved brightness and resolution with components slender enough to incorporate into stylish glasses.

A key enabler for AR/VR display headsets is robust, miniaturized optics – a task for which Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) are perfectly suited. The reason that PICs are so ideal for this application is that optical components for the very precise control of light – both in terms of it’s position and properties – are straight-forward to engineer.

Integrated photonics benefits and features for AR/VR

The miniature integrated devices fabricated by LioniX International for AR/VR applications are:

Small and robust with a high level of integration

Devices are manufactured using precision photolithography to create miniature PICs with components monolithically integrated into the chip. Other components such as RGB laser diodes, control electronics and light interfaces can be integrated directly onto the PIC.

Low power efficient devices

Miniature devices come with miniature power budgets, especially with our low loss photonics materials. The power required for driver and control electronics on a PIC is also favorable compared with bulk optical components.

Full spectrum and white light

Our silicon nitride photonic waveguide material performs very well across a full spectrum of light colors. Integrated splitters and combiners are able to mix any color required and route it precisely where it’s needed.

Optimal display resolution with precision light outputs

The output and control of one or more light beams or patterns is relatively straight forward using gratings and mirrors built into the PIC. Furthermore, the high precision fabrication of PICs enables extreme positional accuracy that would otherwise be impossible to achieve in such compact systems. In certain PIC applications light beams can even be steered using electronically tunable components.

Scalable and cost effective

The batch micro- and nanofabrication processes used to manufacture PICs are easy to scale, with costs reducing as volumes increase. For high volume applications, costs of dollars per PIC are not uncommon.

LioniX International AR/VR technology development

We help pioneers in the AR/VR market to innovate, with technology and product development expertise developed from 20 years’ work in complementary applications. Our specialties include:

Integrated RGB light engines

Our millimeter-scale integrated optical components for retinal projection offer: Powerful combinations of high performance RGB diodes; a low-loss RGB combiner; on-chip integration; and robust hermetic packaging.

a 3d render of an integrated photonic RGB light engine chip

Sourcing and integration of RGB laser diodes

With specialise in integrating high-specification RGB laser diodes for superior optical performance.

RGB combiner

We enable very precise combination of RGB light sources for RGB and white light output with an RGB combiner fabricated with low-loss silicon nitride waveguides.

Solid-state integrated beamforming and beam steering

Our integrated photonic phased arrays are valuable in applications from sensing to telecommunications. They enable robust, multi-wavelength, beam steering for AR/VR retinal projection.

Low-loss integration of chip based optical technology

We ensure low insertion loss for components by carefully tailoring the geometry of our waveguide cross-section to couple optimally with laser diodes and light outputs.

Hermetic packaging

A photonic integrated circuit is more than just a chip. Using expertise in packaging and assembly we offer components for AR/VR packaged together for optimal form factor and robustness.