Silicone lenses reduce size of vehicle lighting systems

5th September 2017
Alice Matthews

Thanks to its smaller dimensions, Matrix light not only contributes to greater road safety but also gives headlight designers greater freedom. To meet the demands of the automotive industry for more compact smart headlights, Osram has taken this technology a stage further with the development of innovative SMARTRIX modules. SMARTRIX is an amalgam of 'smart' and 'matrix'.

“By using new materials for the lens systems we have been able to make the SMARTRIX modules even smaller and more durable, so our customers have even more freedom in designing their headlights,” explained Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO Specialty Lighting at Osram.

Matrix headlights provide suitable visibility at night and poor weather conditions. The smart distribution of light ensures that the road is illuminated with a high level of precision and maximum light output without dazzling oncoming drivers. Several individually controllable LEDs are combined into a matrix (array) with common optics. The LEDs can be controlled individually, 'pixel by pixel', so specific areas of the road and its environs can be illuminated or masked out as required.

Smaller modules mean new headlight designs
The standard plastic lenses which have been used in the past few years for matrix systems could no longer meet the requirement to be placed closer and closer to the light source. Osram therefore looked for a new material for the lenses and developed the SMARTRIX modules which are equipped with lenses made of silicone as this material emerged as the best alternative to plastic.

The lenses offer properties such as long life and high resistance to heat and radiation, and are also less expensive than glass lenses. In addition, silicone lenses can be attached directly to the LEDs, making the product much smaller overall. Headlight designers have much greater freedom as a result and can more easily follow the trend for narrow low-profile headlights.

First-generation SMARTRIX modules from Osram will appear on the roads in autumn 2017. As the leading player in automotive lighting, Osram is already working on the next-gen which will offer multi-line matrix functionality in one module, and the chance to make headlights even more compact.

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