The use of LEDs in advanced optical systems such as LED projectors or automotive
headlamps is usually limited by the optical extend of the light source. The optical extend (or
étendue) is defined as the product of the optical area and the divergence angle of the emission.
In our paper, we discuss the consequences of such limitations on the design and performance
of optical systems. The system optimization involves the chip technology, package design and
the primary optics, producing an optical extend that has to match with the optical extend of the
imager component. It will be shown how these optical laws put constraints on the LED light
source and the design of suitable light engines. The benefits of LED light sources for the above
mentioned applications will also be demonstrated.
Innovations in photonics technology have the potential to revolutionize both the inside and the outside of the automobile, making driving, simpler, safer, and more economical. Some of the most interesting applications areas are: lighting, communications, night vision, display, entertainment, and controls. However, the commercialization of these technologies will depend on a number of factors: cost, proven improvements in safety, economy of operation, availability of mass-produced components with high uniformity and reliability, regulations, and standards. The automotive industry recognizes the utility of a roadmap to focus all players, from basic device manufacturing and component integrators, to set manufacturers and ultimately automotive assemblers. In this paper we report on progress on an important component of this roadmap concerning adaptive front-lighting systems (AFS).