STMicroelectronics has released the VL53L1, the company’s third-generation laser-ranging sensor based on its FlightSense technology. The VL53L1 benefits from new silicon- and module-level architectures, adding optical lenses to the module for the first time. This combination boosts core performance while introducing many new features, including multi-target detection, cover-glass crosstalk immunity at long distance, and programmable multi-zone scanning. These advances deliver new levels of sensor performance to robotics, user detection, drones, IoT, and wearable applications.
With a form factor of 4.9 x 2.5 x 1.56mm, the sensor module integrates a new lens system, a 940nm VCSEL1 invisible-light source, a processing core, and a SPAD2 photon detector. The addition of the optical lens system increases the photon detection rate to boost the module’s ranging performance. The embedded microcontroller manages the complete ranging function and runs the innovative digital algorithms to minimise host-processing overhead and system power consumption, maximising battery life for mobile applications.
For autofocus applications in smartphones, the sensor detects objects twice as fast as earlier-generation devices. Moreover, the VL53L1 has doubled the maximum ranging distance of sensors to beyond 4.5 metres, ensuring it is well matched to the hyper-focal distance of widely used 21-megapixel camera optics.