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Optical Engineering

Investigation of the distance error induced by cycle-to-cycle jitter in a correlating time-of-flight distance measurement system
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Paper Abstract

Time-of-flight (TOF) range sensors acquire distances by means of an optical signal delay measurement. As the signal travels at the speed of light, distance resolutions in the subcentimeters range require a time measurement resolution that is in the picoseconds range. However, typical clock synthesizers and digital buffers possess cycle-to-cycle jitter values of up to hundreds of picoseconds, which can potentially have a noticeable impact on the TOF system performances. In this publication, we investigate the influence of two common types of cycle-to-cycle jitter distributions on the measured distance. This includes a random Gaussian distribution, which is caused by, e.g., stochastic noise sources, and a discrete jitter distribution, which is found when timing constraints fail in synchronous digital designs. It was demonstrated that a Gaussian cycle-to-cycle jitter has only a negligible impact on the performance of the TOF distance sensors up to a standard deviation of 1 ns of the Gaussian jitter distribution. However, even the discrete cycle-to-cycle jitter investigated in its simplest form lowers the distance precision of the TOF sensor by a factor of 2.86, i.e., the standard deviation increases from 2.9 to 8.3 mm.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 July 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Opt. Eng. 53(7) 073104 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.53.7.073104
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 53, Issue 7
Show Author Affiliations
Johannes Seiter, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
Michael Hofbauer, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
Milos Davidovic, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)
Avago Technologies Fiber Austria GmbH (Austria)
Horst Zimmermann, Technische Univ. Wien (Austria)


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