Using Light for Next Generation Applications

Table of Contents

Introduction
     Optical Sensing
     Government
     Automotive
     Anti-Counterfeiting
Optical Sensing
     Optics for Photonic and 3D Sensing Applications
     Optics for Multi-Spectral Sensing
     Optics for Near IR Spectroscopy
Government
Automotive
     3D Sensing in LiDAR Systems
     Custom Color Solutions
Anti-Counterfeiting

Introduction

Increasing demand for a more intuitive, secure and personalized world needs a staggering number of sensors and highly sophisticated optics in order to work. With almost 70 years of expertise, Viavi’s Optical Security and Performance Products (OSP) business is now experiencing an inflection point as the world transforms to optical. Viavi’s advanced optics very precisely guide, filter, and direct light that carries data about the environment, allowing new and innovative products to perform an extensive range of tasks on behalf of individuals.

A big driver for improved optics is The Internet of Things (IOT) and increasing reliance on connected devices to automate regular activities and offer faster access to particular data that enhances people’s quality of life. Gartner predicts there will be over 20 billion devices online by 20201. Viavi’s extensive optics experience, incorporated with high-volume and innovative manufacturing capabilities, has allowed it to support growth across a number of areas.

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Optical Sensing

Viavi’s high-performance optical solutions are currently used across an extensive range of smart electronics such as robotics, mobile phones and drones, giving them the potential to ‘see’ in three dimensions and respond accordingly, just like their human counterparts. For industrial applications, Viavi has moved near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy from the laboratory into portable, much smaller devices so that the measurement of materials can be carried out at the ‘point of use.’ As technology blends between the consumer and industrial worlds, Viavi is developing a new multispectral sensing filter that can help carry out measurements from a mobile device. This new technology will enable a number of exciting consumer applications while in early stages of development.

Government

Custom-designed optical filters from Viavi have been guaranteeing the high performance of a number of government applications for more than 60 years. They are employed in satellites that explore the universe and in guidance systems that identify targets with immense accuracy, protecting allied forces in times of battle. Increasingly intelligent filters are presently helping soldiers to ‘own the environment,’ giving them the potential to see under an extensive range of challenging conditions.

Automotive

As cars become more autonomous, Viavi’s high-performance filter capabilities are being deployed in sensing systems in order to recognize and adapt to passenger and driver comfort preferences, and in LiDAR technology systems to safely monitor and react to conditions outside of the car. As car buyers with more disposable income focus on differentiating their vehicles by paying extra for special-option car colors that include pigments from Viavi, OEMs also benefit by increasing profit and revenue in an increasingly competitive market.

Anti-Counterfeiting

Protecting currency is a vital market for Viavi, and its optical pigments are on almost 80% of the world’s banknote value. The technology offers striking visual effects that permit banks and consumers to effortlessly recognize if a note is real, while making it complicated for counterfeiters to make illegal copies. Other Viavi pigment technologies are being employed on key consumer brands in order to protect them from the escalating and costly problem of counterfeiting.

The following sections cover key trends happening across each of these core markets.

Optical Sensing

Optics for Photonic and 3D Sensing Applications

The Sensing World Around Humans

As electronics become more intelligent, they are recognizing the personal identities and subtly altering the surrounding environment as individuals move throughout the day. The photonics industry is anticipated to hit $766 billion by 2020,2 driven by demand for several types of smarter, more efficient electronics that allow individuals to seamlessly interact in the physical and virtual worlds.

Latest advances in optical sensor coating technology from Viavi enable sensors to recognize ambient light conditions around electronics and then optimize their display brightness and color balance. Viavi coatings are also employed for range-finding capabilities in cell phones, allowing them to correctly turn on and off the touchscreen display and automatically focus the camera. Soon, it will also be possible for phone cameras to produce a 3D model of the user or the environment, opening up opportunities for new applications.

In the future, hundreds of thousands of sensors embedded in cars, wearable devices, smart homes and offices will automatically adapt based on the environment and preferences, in more customized ways than ever before.

Verifying Genetic Digital Signature with 3D Sensing

Use of multimodal biometrics is also on the rise, with passwords expecting to become obsolete by 2020.3 Fingerprint sensing presently leads the biometrics market, with iris and facial recognition not far behind. By 2021, analysts predict that more than two thirds ofsmartphones4 will comprise of one or more biometric capabilities, tying multiple elements together to better protect individuals from a criminal’s potential to steal personal data.

Viavi was first to market with 3D sensing filter solutions more than seven years ago, when it deployed its first-generation optical filter potential for supporting the popular Microsoft Kinect gaming system. It was the first deployment of technology where gestures of players could be recognized in 3D and then integrated into a virtual game on a TV screen.

Next-generation sensing systems with Viavi filters are presently being used for iris and facial recognition in order to detect a person’s unique identity and unlock different levels of access on a device or within an application. A vital ingredient of 3D sensing refers to Viavi’s sophisticated optical-filter technology capable of separating particular wavelengths of light from a 3D image from ambient light that could interfere and confuse the system.

Verifying Genetic Digital Signature with 3D Sensing

Verifying Genetic Digital Signature with 3D Sensing

A multitude of sensors enable conceptual facial recognition technologies

In the future, multimodal biometric access may eventually replace IDs like driver’s passports or licenses, and offer levels of access to public facilities and venues. Even a self-driving car will immediately recognize an individual, unlock the car, adjust the comfort levels, start the engine, and, if needed, ensure that the individual stays awake and is attentive.

Viavi Differentiators

Viavi has invested more than seven years of research and development into its 3D depth-sensing filter technology, and has been awarded a number of related patents and IP. The specialized coating design on its filters offers less wavelength angle shift compared to standard coatings, enabling majorly better overall performance of the system. The filters offer a deep suppression of unwanted ambient light, so that they can be employed under a range of extreme light conditions. High precision manufacturing at a very large scale (in the hundreds of millions) with exceptional quality and customer relationships has enabled Viavi to be an industry leader in this space.

Current and emerging capabilities enabled by optical filters

Current and emerging capabilities enabled by optical filters

Optics for Multi-Spectral Sensing

Bringing Scientific-Level Measurement to the Masses

Every material in the universe comprises its own unique optical spectral signature. When one shines light at it, the light reflected back includes information about its material composition. Examining that reflected light involves dispersing the spectrum into its component parts, which can be performed in a number of wavelength ranges and in several ways. The short-wave NIR (SW-NIR), the wavelength region closest to the visible spectrum, is specifically interesting as optical detectors in this range are inexpensive and common. Recently, Viavi has developed a novel method of filtering SW-NIR light, known as Binary Multispectral (BMS) filters, which is both low cost and compact. This innovation offers the opportunity for the sophisticated optical analysis of materials to be produced from consumer mobile devices, revealing invisible insights that previously were not available.

Recent media coverage5 signifies that incorporating spectrometers into smartphones will be a key technology disrupter. People will be able to carry out a wide range of measurements on their own, employing their phone to test the ingredients of a food product, or to monitor their hydration or blood glucose levels. While BMS technology is in early stages of development, it is likely to be evolved into a vital enabler for this growing market.

Viavi OSP Differentiators

No other technologies today meet the cost, size, and performance capabilities of Viavi BMS for shortwave near-IR capabilities. Based on decades of optical expertise, BMS offers superior spectral behavior, improved bandpass form, and supreme out-of-band blocking that covers a variety of wavelengths. Viavi’s innovative and highly-efficient manufacturing methods dramatically decrease the technology’s price point and size, while delivering the improved performance demanded by mobile devices.

Optics for Near IR Spectroscopy

It’s Not Just About the Sensor

Different industries have been employing near IR spectroscopy for several decades in order to measure the molecular fingerprint of a number of common materials. Launched in 2012, MicroNIRmade the way for dramatically smaller, portable uses of this capability. Unlike BMS filters, which work in the 0.4 – 1.1 micron wavelength range, MicroNIR works in the 0.9-1.65um wavelength range in order to provide more spectral detail than is available in the SW-NIR range.

Presently, versions of the product come in different compact forms, from the size of a hairdryer all the way down to the size of a golf ball, making them ideal for several vital applications, including:

Safe Drug Manufacturing

The pharmaceutical world employs Viavi’s MicroNIR during the batch production of drugs, to help in the inspection of raw materials. The near IR capability verifies the uniformity and ingredients of each mixture to guarantee that they are appropriately blended before the drug gets pressed into tablets. The industry is presently moving from batch production to the continuous manufacturing of drugs, where smart factories will allow a process line to manufacture products continuously. This will need a variety of sensors across the manufacturing line to regularly monitor vital quality processes, including the verification of the composition of drugs.

High-Quality Dairy and Grain Production

The agricultural industry employs MicroNIR for testing the nutritional value and water content of animal feed, enabling them to know when to add key nutrients to the animal’s diet. Balanced nutrition makes dairy cows less susceptible to illness or disease and helps ensuring a high-quality milk product. Most of the daily products that bought in the store have been enhanced in some way by a near IR spectrometer measurement.

Detection of Illicit Substances

Law enforcement and security personnel also make use of MicroNIR for identifying whether or not a substance is illegal. For instance, it can determine whether a white substance is sugar or heroin, or whether the strength of THC (the active ingredient in Cannabis or marijuana) is within acceptable limits.

Viavi Differentiators

Spectroscopy needs sophisticated optics in order to collect and then synthesize extremely precise information. MicroNIR offers an end-to-end solution for industrial applications that comprises of a spectrometer easy-to-use sample interfaces, innovative collection optics, and software for the complete and real-time analysis of materials. Viavi incorporates a long legacy of optical thin-film coating expertise and high-volume manufacturing capabilities, so that the solution can be deployed in high volumes.

Viavi’s MicroNIR Suite of Sensors and Accessories

Viavi’s MicroNIR Suite of Sensors and Accessories

Government

Modernizing the Military with Precision Sensing

Modernization is a high priority for the U.S. government and its military agencies in order to be ready for both asymmetrical warfare (terrorism) and standard threats at a moment’s notice. To fast track innovation, the government is tapping into the technological strength of Silicon Valley, California and improvements made by huge consumer electronics companies. What both areas already have in common is that they employ infrared (IR) technology to observe what is happening in the dark, or in changing levels of light. In consumer electronics, IR is already being employed for gaming, security and other applications that use 3D sensing technology. The military is strong on leveraging this technology for supporting the next generation of defense solutions.

To fast track innovation, the government is tapping into the technological strength of Silicon Valley, California and advances made by large consumer electronics companies. The military is keen to leverage this technology to support the next generation of defense solutions.

Bringing the Battlefield into Focus

The challenge with present military night-vision capabilities is that they still need some level of light in order to work. There is an increasing need for high-end defense cameras that offer amore in depth view of the surrounding environment. Viavi’s optical filter technology is evolving for IR sensing applications, to leverage both near and mid-wave infrared spectral bands (also known as ‘multispectral band’ or ‘dual band’). These new IR capabilities can see in complex environmental conditions such as strong heat, dense fog, heavy rain, and deep undergrowth. Soldiers stand to benefit, as this ‘super vision’ could help them detect movements of enemy infantry or muzzle flashes from weapons even in the most tough battlefield conditions.

Innovation on Land, at Sea and in the Air

The proliferation of unmanned devices like robots and drones, at sea and on land, are also increasing the requirement for more advanced sensing capabilities and cameras. Furthermore, satellite systems used for surveillance, weather, and reconnaissance are using greatly specialized filters from Viavi, including hyperspectral and multispectral filters. These filters permit several varied wavelengths of data to be superimposed over one another for a richer, more in-depth view of the environment.

Similar types of sensing capabilities from Viavi are already being employed in mobile devices. The smaller size, improved cost and lower power of these mobile features could offer huge benefits to soldiers out in the field. Imagine a solider capable of flipping back and forth between the visual and IR worlds, or simultaneously merging the two, through a mobile device or via a small display attached to the front of his helmet.

Evading the Enemy with Special Effects

Special features of optical filtering technology are also considered to be fast-forwarding futuristic concepts of combat tactics into the present. Missiles can leverage a laser beam directed towards a targeted position and a Viavi optical filter mounted in front of a sensor to guarantee that the missile hits its target with minimum collateral damage. On the other hand, military vehicles can also employ Viavi filters to enable manipulating laser light in ways that offer effective countermeasures to an enemy’s efforts to target them. Latest developments in Viavi optical pigment technology also offer ‘signature management’ capabilities. This cloaking device allows soldiers to control their infrared signature out in the environment, hiding them completely from enemy view or even decreasing their risk of falling victim to accidental ‘friendly fire.

Inspection of Large Scale Optic

Inspection of Large Scale Optic

Viavi Differentiators

Viavi has mastered the design challenges linked with developing greatly sophisticated IR filter technology, allowing systems that can detect multiple bands of light simultaneously and precisely provide information to the warfighter. Viavi manufactures at scale and on larger-sized substrates needed for equipment such as satellites. Furthermore, the company manufactures these products only in the U.S. in order to comply with International Trade Arms Regulations and has different levels of security clearance to work on special projects. As the military continues to innovate, Viavi is considered to be one of the few optical providers to have mastered a unique set of challenges to offer superior performance filters to both the consumer and government markets.

Automotive

3D Sensing in LiDAR Systems

The Next Supercomputer is One’s Own Car

IOT has brought about a dramatic impact on the automotive industry. Cars have now become supercomputers on wheels with transportation-as-a-service and changing degrees of autonomous and connected vehicles hitting city streets all over the world. Automakers, ride sharing services, and other industry players are developing partnerships for connected car services to make driving more convenient, comfortable, and safe. It is an industry expected to explode from $13.6 billion today to $42 billion by 2022.6

The Path to Autonomous Driving

New improvements are being added to cars annually with more types of sensors and diverse capabilities. Tech companies are completely invested, building whole cars or vital features inside a car. While widespread use of completely autonomous cars is still years away, increasing levels of ‘driver assist’ features have been added such as automated emergency braking, voice and gesture recognition, and parking assistance, moving individuals closer to fully-autonomous cars.

Ride sharing, along with complete automation, guarantees huge benefits. Eventually, individuals will have to cease to own their own cars, as improved safety of driverless cars will reduce accident risks below that of human drivers. Ride-sharing without personal car ownership will also dramatically decrease the need for parking spaces, alleviate pollution, and ease traffic congestion. It effortlessly aligns to millennials’ preference to own less and share more, with IOT technologies underpinning this behavior.

Sensing for Self-Aware Vehicles

As car automation technology continues to grow with more multisensory capabilities, vehicles will better understand what is happening under an extensive variety of situations in order to respond in an appropriate manner.

LiDAR sensing is a developing car technology that has long been employed for applications in agriculture, space, and geographical mapping -- think radar + light. It is now being employed for fully and semi-autonomous driving and uses Viavi filter technology, allowing cars to have complete awareness of their environment for the best decision making. A laser light shines out from the car, bounces off an external object, and the returning light is sent via a Viavi filter before hitting a sensor, which in turn feeds data to the car and the driver.

Driver monitoring inside the car also uses similar 3D depth-sensing technology employing Viavi filters, but at a shorter range to recognize and then adapt to conditions of the driver. Soon, cars will be able to automatically recognize the driver with biometrics and set preprogrammed comfort levels. Most importantly for semi-autonomous driving, it will scan the driver to see if they are alert and also ready to react, and will instantly take over if a driver is compromised or if there is imminent danger ahead.

By the time millennials have grandchildren of their own, fully autonomous cars could be ubiquitous in cities, speeding across smart superhighways at 100 mph and 2 inches away from each other. Enhanced filtering technologies that are successfully guiding semiautonomous cars today will continue to evolve for the performance and safety required for autonomous car networks of the future.

Illustration of Autonomous Vehicle with LiDAR System

Illustration of Autonomous Vehicle with LiDAR System

Viavi Differentiators

Enhanced optical filtering technology from Viavi employed in LiDAR systems suppresses stray light very precisely under an extensive range of light conditions. This patented Viavi low-angle shift filtering technology is also called “narrow band” functionality. It just permits an extremely narrow stream of light in to inform the driver and car, while suppressing any ambient light that would otherwise confuse the sensor. It is perfect for extreme light conditions, such as full sunlight or darkness, and can view the changing environment from the widest possible range.

Custom Color Solutions

Gaining a Competitive Edge with Custom Car Colors

As disposable income increases across several parts of the world, car buyers are now adorning automobiles with special-option paint colors that comprise of special-effect pigments from Viavi, in order to express their individual flair and style.

ChromaFlair® and SpectraFlair® pigments offer striking color-shift effects as light hits a car’s exterior at different angles, and are compatible with other vital features such as matte finishes or a high gloss. In the future, these paint features could also offer ride sharing services a boost, allowing them to brand different tiers of self-driving car services to their passengers.

Auto Wraps for a Unique and Temporary Effect

Wraps have been a huge hit in Asia and are starting to take hold in Europe and the US. For car owners looking for that striking paint effect, special films have been designed that can be applied as an aftermarket add-on. This customization is cheaper and less invasive than fully repainting a car. Auto wraps are usually backed by a multiyear warranty and leased cars can effortlessly be reverted to their original state before being returned after expiration of the lease.

Autonomous Cars and Cooler Dark Colors

The physics behind color-shifting pigments lends itself well to enabling cars to be more visible to near infrared light. For autonomous vehicles, new pigment technology is being studied that will enhance the infrared reflection of black cars, permitting autonomous vehicles with LiDAR systems to better sense them in different environmental conditions. Since 50% of solar radiation is in the infrared range, the same technology can be applied to dark car colors enabling them to better reflect heat, thus decreasing the amount of energy needed for cooling the cabin and leading to better mileage for electric vehicles.

ChromaFlame color containing Viavi ChromaFlair pigment (Photo courtesy Lincoln Motor Company)

Viavi Differentiators

Sophisticated optical filtering technology from Viavi used in LiDAR systems suppresses stray light very accurately under a wide range of light conditions. This exceptional Viavi low-angle shift filtering technology is also called “narrow band” functionality. It only permits a very narrow stream of light in to inform the driver and car, while suppressing any ambient light that would otherwise confuse the sensor. It is perfect for extreme light conditions, such as full sunlight or darkness, and can view the changing environment from the widest possible range.

Anti-Counterfeiting

Keeping the Counterfeiters Away

If you live in a first world urban area, it is easy to think the world is going totally cashless, as more e-payment applications move into retail countertops and mobile devices. The reality refers to the fact that the majority of the world is not ready for a cashless society. Bank note circulation is in fact currently forecasted to increase gradually, at approximately a 5% compound annual growth rate7.

The challenge with electronic payments is that fraudulent transactions take place much more often and easily. Devices such as smartphones or PCs were originally designed for convenience and not for the security needed to conduct financial transactions. If e-payment infrastructures are standardized to enable cashless transactions on a much bigger scale, then how will hackers be prevented from more easily infiltrating the system and compromising millions of accounts?

Easy to Authenticate, Tough to Replicate

Physical cash will continue to dominate for the near future, particularly in less urban areas and in developing parts of the world. To avoid counterfeit activity, central banks have depended on refined pigment technology from Viavi for several decades.

The pigments go into inks on bank notes and offer special effects that are easy for people to detect but difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. These are called ‘overt’ features. The feature explains itself, and once individuals see it, they know what to look for on the next bill in order to verify its authenticity. For instance, on the number showing the note’s denomination, all Euro bills contain a bright green bar that moves via a darker background when tilted. People must also have the potential to verify a banknote in the blink of an eye, while putting it in a wallet or a cash register. It should not require a lot of extra light or time in order to validate.

Moving Downstream

Originally, overt features were only employed on high denomination bills that attracted criminal activity. However, once counterfeiters were thwarted from copying larger notes, they moved downstream and began illegally replicating smaller bills. Currently, overt features are being employed all the way down to the lowest denomination notes. For instance, the European Union uses overt features from Viavi on every single banknote and other countries are not far behind.

While electronic transactions will grow, mainly in developed countries, cash continues to be the main source of currency all over the world. Viavi is committed to offering innovative technology that safeguards the well-being of retailers, consumers, and governments against the negative repercussions of counterfeit banknote activity.

Finally, key worldwide brands including clothing, electronics, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals also observe the value of protecting their brand equity by employing explicit features on their products. Viavi supports these companies via their range of customized brand security labels.

Viavi Differentiators

Being the leader in overt anti-counterfeiting technology, Viavi has several decades of experience offering pigment technology to central banks and is on more than 80% of the total banknote value all over the world.

South African Rand featuring Viavi Pigment Technology

South African Rand featuring Viavi Pigment Technology

Sources

1. “Gartner: 21 Billion IoT Devices to Invade by 2020,” InformationWeek, November, 2015. For more: http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/mobile-devices/gartner-21-billioniot-devices-to-invade-by-2020/d/d-id/1323081 .

2. “Global Photonics Market Set for Growth,” Phontonics.com, November, 2015. For more: https://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=61327.

3. “Year in Review 2016: When Will the Password Die?” FindBiometrics.com, January, 2017. For more: http://findbiometrics.com/year-review-password-die-401270/ .

4. “Fingerprint recognition dominates biometrics market – for now,” Market Business News, December 2016. For more: http://marketbusinessnews.com/fingerprint-recognition-dominatesbiometrics-market-now/150339 .

5. “Smartphones Poised to Shake up Spectroscopy,” Photonics. com, January, 2017. For more: https://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=61337 .

6. “Connected Car Report 2016: Opportunities, Risk, and Turmoil on the Road to Autonomous Vehicles,” September, 2016. For more: http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/reports/connected-car-2016-study .

7. “Rising Demand from Developing Economies, Oberthur Fiduciaire Confident in the Future of Global Banknote Market,” September, 2016. For more: http://manageria.biz/2016/09/07/rising-demandfrom-developing-economies-oberthur-fiduciaire-confident-inthe-future-of-global-banknote-market/

Acknowledgements

“The Sensing World Around Us”
“The Next Supercomputer is Your Car”
Markus Bilger
Product Line Manager Director, Consumer Products

“Bringing Scientific-Level Measurement to the Masses”
Steve Saxe
Senior Product Line Manager, Industrial Sensing

“It’s Not Just About the Sensor”
Chris Pederson
Senior Product Line Manager, Industrial Sensing

“Modernizing the Military with Precision Sensing”
Shawn Cullen
Senior Product Line Manager, Government & Aerospace

“Gaining a Competitive Edge with Custom Car Colors”
John Book
Product Line Manager Director, Custom Color Solutions

“Keeping the Counterfeiters Away”
Kees-Jan Delst
Product Line Manager Director, Anti-Counterfeiting Products

Viavi Solutions

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Viavi Solutions.

For more information on this source, please visit Viavi Solutions.

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