Jenoptik secures long-term contract in the automotive industry

The photonics specialist cooperates with an international automotive supplier in the development of an optical particle concentration sensor for vehicles inside and their immediate environment to monitor air quality and control air circulation.

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 realized on the basis of Jenoptik's custom precision polymer optics and the high-accuracy adjustment of the optoelectronic system.

The project contract, concluded between Jenoptik and the international automotive supplier Hella, stipulates that series production will begin in 2020. The contract is expected to run for a total of nine years.

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. The particle sensor 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.

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.

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. mg

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