Volvo supplies a unique lighting and signaling equipment to the Volvo XC60. It uses a new optical surface that spreads light uniformly. Called Micro-optics, the new optical surface an diffuse a fully configurable light source. The light from just a few LEDs, for example, can be evenly spread across a very large area, such as rear lighting. It is also possible to produce shading effects that give the lights a 3-D appearance. Compliant with current regulations, this technology offers yet greater design freedom such as differentiated anytime and night time styling. It can be applied both to front and rear exterior lighting, even if they have complex shapes. Combined with LEDs, Micro-optics technology offers the benefits of low power consumption and a lifetime equal to that of the vehicle itself.
Micro-optics uses light guide technology to distribute the light source to a multitude of openings. These guides create a 3 effect with a very compact and thin optical unit. They use Flex Board technology LEDs or, for a lower price, LEDs that are mounted on a standard two-dimension electronic boards. The Micro-optics homogenous light guide technology has now become reality, using a CAD tool developed in-house by Volvo.
Interestingly, replicated micro-optics is playing an increasingly important role in illumination and sensing systems in automobiles as can be seen on the Volvo XC60. The introduction of new design methods and improvements in materials and production technology has led to components which can offer superior performance size and weight compared with classical optical elements. Diffractive Optical elements (DOEs) for applications such as beam shaping are claimed to be capable of achieving optical performance which is not possible with conventional optics.
Beam forming elements for use with red and white LEDs play a major role in automotive optics. Customized DOEs offer significantly more design flexibility and functionality over Fresnel lenses for the complex optical system based on a single or multiple LED source with reflector and wavelength converting resin.
Thinner modules and improved efficiency are achieved. With CMOS imager
sensors, micro-optical lens let arrays can improve the effective sensitivity by
many factors. UV-embossing and injection molding are used to produce components
in high volumes at low production costs. Replicated mounting and alignment
features reduce assembly coss.New materials and processes have been developed to
enable wafer scale production by UV-embossing, producing glass-lie components
with excellent humidity and elevated temperature stability as well as IR-reflow