Triple RGB laser driver enables designers to embed pico projectors

CAMBRIDGE, UK — Fabricated using Maxim's newest BiCMOS process, the MAX3600 RGB laser driver enables designers to embed pico projectors into compact consumer electronics, supporting switching times below 2ns and resolutions up to WXGA and 1080p.

The MAX3600 integrates three laser drivers into a 5×5-mm chip, allowing it to fit into the smallest enclosures. This integrated solution consumes 75% less real estate and 30% less power than discrete designs. OEMs will also benefit from a 25% lower solution cost estimates the manufacturer.

The chip is targeted at applications such as smartphones, portable media players, mobile-computing devices, digital cameras/camcorders, accessory projectors, and digital picture frames.

Quickly becoming small enough to fit into the tight enclosures of today's smartphones, embedded pico projectors promise to transform the multimedia capabilities of consumer electronics. These miniature projectors enable users to display images and video from their portable devices onto walls and other surfaces, effectively freeing consumers from the constraints of their cramped displays.

Given the widespread integration of video capabilities in consumer electronics, a large potential market exists for pico projectors. Traditional pico-projector solutions do not scale as much as laser-based projectors. Laser solutions only require a single or dual MEMS mirror, regardless of resolution.

This means that designs can be scaled-in terms of both software and hardware-to higher resolutions without changing the imager. The MAX3600 allows pico-projector OEMs to overcome previous size and power limitations by integrating three discrete laser drivers into a single 5×5-mm 40-pin TQFN package.

This device integrates all of the functionality needed to simply interface a digital 10-bit RGB video source to virtually all industry-standard, low-power RGB laser diodes. The chip also features three 10-bit RGB DACs, which read video data from the host device's 10-bit RGB bus.

These DACs allow system designers to precisely control laser current while generating billions of colors and contrast ratios of 5000:1 and higher. Meanwhile, gain and offset functions along with serial ports and registers make real-world, production image adjustments quick and digitally simple.

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