Montana Patent of the Month – April 2023

Bridger Photonics, Inc. is a company at the forefront of laser radar systems that employ frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) technology to achieve high-precision distance measurements. Existing LiDAR systems are limited in terms of signal strength and update rates, which can impact their effectiveness in certain applications. FMCW technology, on the other hand, uses optical heterodyne detection that can provide quantum-noise-limited measurement signals and allow measurements with a large dynamic range of signal powers.

In a recent development, Bridger Photonics has created a method that involves producing an interference signal from an FMCW laser radar system by directing a laser beam toward an object and combining the reflected laser beam with an oscillator portion of the laser beam. Multiple temporal segments of the interference signal are processed, with each corresponding to a segmented bandwidth that is less than the chirp bandwidth. By combining results from processing the multiple temporal segments, distance measurements can be determined with a high degree of accuracy.

What sets this method apart from existing techniques is its ability to partially compensate for Doppler noise, speckle noise, or both. This is achieved by processing different sets of temporal segments together, where each set being in opposite directions. Furthermore, the update rate of the FMCW laser radar system is faster than the inverse of the laser chirp duration, which enables measurements to be taken more frequently.

This groundbreaking technology has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of applications, from autonomous vehicles to mapping and surveying. Bridger Photonics, Inc. continues to lead the way in the development of FMCW laser radar systems that offer unmatched accuracy, precision, and reliability.

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