High Accuracy Automotive Particle Sensor Uses Laser-Optical Subsystem

Jenoptik has been chosen to supply a laser-optical subsystem for the PM2.5 particle sensor, developed by HELLA. This particle sensor will now make it possible to reliably and precisely measure minute concentrations of particulate matter inside vehicles and in their immediate environment. The sensor’s high measuring accuracy was achieved thanks to Jenoptik’s custom precision polymer optics and the high-accuracy 5-axis adjustment of the optoelectronic system. With this innovation, the Jenoptik group is consolidating its position as one of the leading photonics specialists in various markets, including the automotive industry.

The project contract, concluded between photonics specialist and technology group Jenoptik and international automotive supplier HELLA, stipulates that series production will begin in 2020. The contract is expected to run for a total of nine years. The first customer for the sensors is a European premium manufacturer that primarily intends to integrate the sensor into its Asian vehicle fleet. Going forward, the vehicles will each be equipped with two PM2.5 particle sensors. The PM2.5 class sensors can measure particle sizes below 2.5 micrometers in diameter.

One sensor monitors and optimizes air quality inside the vehicle by automatically controlling the air supply and through the efficient use of air filters. The second sensor measures the fine dust concentration in vehicle’s immediate environment. It can be used for air quality information purposes and to automatically control air circulation. In the future, it will also be possible to use the PM2.5 particle sensor to implement other digitized applications, such as route planning that takes local air quality into account.

The Decisive Factor Is Measuring Accuracy

At the heart of the particle sensors is a laser diode and polymer optics developed and manufactured by Jenoptik, which combine to form a full laser optic system using high-precision five-axis adjustment. Only this way is it possible to guarantee the high measuring accuracy of the particle sensor, which detects particles down to a lower limit of even 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The high measuring accuracy is significant because fine dust particles of this size penetrate deep into the lungs, where they accumulate and cause a risk to health.

“Implementing this high measuring accuracy across the measuring and temperature range required is a real challenge,” explains Marco Döbrich, head of the Sensors business field and Technical Center at HELLA’s site in Bremen, Germany, where the sensor was developed. “In Jenoptik, we have found an experienced partner whose core competencies include developing, manufacturing and assembling precision optical systems. They are also masters in the field of automated series production, providing automotive quality with reliability and flexibility.“

Jenoptik and HELLA intend to build on their partnership, with a view to attracting further customers in the automotive industry, as well as for applications in other industries, with their innovative technologies and products.

For more information: www.jenoptik.com