Automotive - Photonics for Future Mobility
Photonics for
Future Mobility

comfort | interior | safety | green

40 years of experience in delivering high-quality optical components for automotive



In today’s cars, many comfort functions support drivers all over the world on their journeys. Working in the background without being noticed, they provide more comfort every day, in any driving or weather conditions.

We offer reliable optical semiconductors such as Silicon Photodiodes, Photo ICs, Colour Sensors and Infrared LEDs, which support the automotive comfort systems by providing information about brightness, light colour or refraction of light. This information is supplied as an analog or digital signal from the sensor and is used as a feedback for automatic comfort systems, in order to switch the headlights into the appropriate mode, to control the windshield wipers, to adjust the air conditioning according to solar infrared radiation, or to darken the mirrors when a car is glaring from behind.

Automatic systems not only provide more comfort in the car, but also more safety, as the driver is not distracted by these tasks and can fully concentrate on the task of driving.



Automotive interiors are more than just seats and a steering wheel. They also include many electronic components, building the interface from the occupants to the vehicle and its environment.

We offer reliable optical semiconductors such as Photodiodes and Photo-ICs, Ambient Light Sensors and Infrared LEDs, which support the automotive interior systems by providing information about brightness or light colour. This information is used as feedback for interior lighting with LEDs or light guides, or for control of displays. When combined with an encoder or light barrier, they can also be used for jog dials, rotary knobs, or proximity switches in the interior, or as simple gesture detectors. We also offer CMOS TOF Sensors, which provide 3D information for more complex motion detection.

Our components are also used as transceivers for optical communication via MOST bus for interior infotainment devices and connection of mobile devices, or for free air communication from car to car and between infrastructure and cars.



Since the first vehicle appeared on the roads, safety remains one of the key topics in the automotive world. Many companies around the world have been working on safety improvements for drivers and other road users. While the obligation to wear a seat belt was one of the major improvements for cars in previous years, today car manufacturers, automotive suppliers and many governmental funded projects are doing detailed research into the development of new or improved safety systems, which are intended to decrease the impact and number of severe and lethal accidents.

We offer reliable optical semiconductors, which support active and passive safety systems. PIN Photodiode or APD Arrays are available with integrated TIAs as ‘Hybrid Detector’ and Infrared Laser diodes are used for laser distance measurement (LiDAR) systems, which use Time of Flight (TOF) or Phase Shift measurements. Fibre Optical Transceivers (FOTs) are used for safety systems, which work with special optical fibres, for example to protect pedestrians with a hood which automatically rises in the event of a collision.



Gas and liquid analysis are traditional optical applications and where Hamamatsu Photonics has extensive experience. Testing for exhaust gas analysis in engines is also an example of such traditional applications and is performed using FTIR infrared spectroscopy. It is a mandatory test to meet the requirements of the rigid environmental exhaust gas standards.

Due to strict environmental regulations, analytical systems have become on-board devices, which continuously analyze gases or liquids in cars or trucks. Also, the use of optical sensors for safety reasons is becoming more important for example to detect moisture or ice, or to detect dangerous gases in the interior of the car. The requirements for such on-board sensors are extremely high and completely different from conventional analytical measurement systems.

We offer reliable optical semiconductors which support such on-board environmental sensors, such as Thermopiles with filter to measure the CO2 ratio for air-quality control. InGaAs Photodiodes and infrared LEDs to detect moisture or ice, or, in combination with suitable filters, to analyze the contents of exhaust gas or fuels in order to provide data to the catalytic converter or engine control

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