SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2016 > Focus / Automotive

Subtle light elements

A rolling comfort oasis

Subtle light elements such as the Sidelights that SCHOTT provides are changing the interiors of our cars – the driver benefits.

Dr. Haike Frank

Ambient lighting is also becoming more popular in automobile interiors. The designers rely on soft lighting moods and targeted illumination. Tiny light elements are used directly or indirectly in the edges or to highlight contours. Sidelights from SCHOTT, lightguides that consist of a bundle of hair-thin optical glass fibers that emit light extremely homogeneously on the sides over the entire length, are particularly well suited for this.

To produce this effect, SCHOTT has developed special fiber optic components. Their scattering centers, tiny glass diffusion particles between the fiber core and the cladding, are what make these so unique. This doping has a different index of refraction than that of the cladding glass. When light from the LEDs is coupled into the fiber, the glass particles will direct the light to the outside. The degree of light extraction, brightness and uniformity of the lightguide, can be set by adjusting the density of the doping that is introduced.

Movable optical fibers

Flexible: The movable optical fibers can be easily installed directly in or in front of edges, but also to highlight contours, for example. Uniform: The glass fibers direct their light extremely homogeneously over the entire length. Individual: Because drivers are able to set the colors of light that they prefer, the car becomes a very personal place in which to feel comfortable. Photo: SCHOTT/C. Costard

”Light will play an important role
in the next generation of vehicles.”

Dr. Burkhard Danielzik, Vice President Aviation & Automotive SCHOTT
Glass fibers consists
The core of the glass fibers consists of tiny glass diffusion particles between the fiber core and the cladding that direct the light to the outside. Graphic: SCHOTT

Pushing back the limits

These sidelights can be used to redefine the space inside the car and to shift boundaries optically. When used in doors, center consoles and footwells, they generate perceived space. If the passenger can adjust the light color individually, this will make the car a very personal place of ”well-being”.

White contour light­ing along the borders of a large panoramic roof also contributes to this. It literally lets the occupants feel the vastness of the sky. The functional outdoor lighting of the footboard creates new accents by using discreet glowing fiber optics. ”The imagination knows no limits. We are sure that light will play an important role in the next generation of vehicles – for increased comfort for the passenger and to distinguish ­between brands,” said Dr. Burkhard Danielzik, Vice President of Aviation & Automotive at SCHOTT. —