Eye safety of VCSEL arrays

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Dr. Katharina Predehl

VCSEL lasers have gained great popularity and have experienced drastic economic growth in 3D sensing applications such as in face recognition or short range LiDAR applications. However, like all types of lasers, VCSELs present potential harm to the human eye and skin. Therefore, the consumer electronics and LiDAR manufacturers are obliged to carry out laser safety assessment for their products following the international laser safety norm IEC60825-1 or equivalent national safety regulations. For safe use in public laser class 1 in the infrared region of the optical spectrum must not be exceeded.
VCSELs have special properties in contrast to other typical laser sources. As a result, the classification of a VCSEL array is more complex and a couple of additional aspects have to be considered that would not apply for “normal” lasers. Consequently, the validation of a VCSEL’s laser class is not trivial, and even more so as no easily understandable guideline for the assessment of VCSEL safety has been published yet.
By following the calculation and measurement guidelines of the international laser safety norm IEC60825-1 we deduct the laser class of three different VCSEL samples. We identify critical parameters and demonstrate the importance of accurate measurements and an absolute error budget in order to exploit full power efficiency of the VCSEL while preserving safe operation.

China International Optoelectronic Exposition
IEEE OGC Conference
Virtuelles Event
Freitag 11. September, 2020

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