NIL Technology (NILT) is launching its SUPERvisionary project with 2.3m€ funding from the EIC Accelerator, part of The European Innovation Council (EIC). The SUPERvisionary project will focus on development of advanced diffractive lenses for the real time 3D sensing market, targeting mobile phone (face recognition) and automotive (LiDAR systems for autonomous vehicles) markets.
Advanced optical lenses for a large growth market
Optics and photonics is an industry in high growth, and the implementation of “vision and sensing” in products is experiencing a large demand. At the same time there is a need for low-cost, high-quality optics, which are made to be light-weight and compact with the possibility of mass production. This calls for complex technical solutions that surpass classical optics, and new processing competences for the growing need in the market.
3D sensing on phone
Advanced needs require high expertise
NILT has been developing solutions for high-precision nanostructuring of surfaces since 2006. The technology is now used to create diffractive optical elements (DOEs) that serve specific purposes in 3D sensing camera solutions used in both mobile phones and autonomous vehicles. A key criterion for the 3D cameras is the extreme precision that the DOEs can be manufactured with at the nanometer scale. Focus in the SUPERvisionary project is to bring the technology to the point of commercialization.
An autonomous car with camera on the roof. More advanced optical components can make a large impact on safety in autonomous cars and make use of much smaller cameras.
Essential technology for highly advanced 3D cameras
A typical DOE consist of multi-level structures, with a pixel size of a few hundred nanometer, and with precision of a few nanometers. The extreme precision in the lens fabrication will lead to more advanced and accurate 3D cameras, based on either time of flight (ToF) or structured light (SL) principles. This technology is essential for the real-time long-distance 3D mapping of any device’s surroundings.
Multi-level diffractive optical element (DOE) by NIL Technology
Funding from the European Commission
Each year, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator from the European Commission invests in highly advanced technology that is recognized as pioneering within its field. The aim is to accelerate the growth of European companies with ground-breaking innovations. Now, seventy-five promising start-ups and SMEs from 15 member states and five associated countries, have been selected in the largest funding round so far, receiving funding from H2020-EIC Accelerator.
Read more about the funding in the news from the European Commission here.