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Proceedings Paper

Gun muzzle flash detection using a single photon avalanche diode array in 0.18µm CMOS technology
Author(s): Vitali Savuskan; Claudio Jakobson; Tomer Merhav; Avi Shoham; Igor Brouk; Yael Nemirovsky
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Paper Abstract

In this study, a CMOS Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) 2D array is used to record and sample muzzle flash events in the visible spectrum, from representative weapons. SPADs detect the emission peaks of alkali salts, potassium or sodium, with spectral emission lines around 769nm and 589nm, respectively. The alkali salts are included in the gunpowder to suppress secondary flashes ignited during the muzzle flash event. The SPADs possess two crucial properties for muzzle flash imaging: (i) very high photon detection sensitivity, (ii) a unique ability to convert the optical signal to a digital signal at the source pixel, thus practically eliminating readout noise. The sole noise sources are the ones prior to the readout circuitry (optical signal distribution, avalanche initiation distribution and nonphotonic generation). This enables high sampling frequencies in the kilohertz range without significant SNR degradation, in contrast to regular CMOS image sensors. This research will demonstrate the SPAD’s ability to accurately sample and reconstruct the temporal behavior of the muzzle flash in the visible wavelength, in the presence of sunlight. The reconstructed signal is clearly distinguishable from background clutter, through exploitation of flash temporal characteristics and signal processing, which will be reported. The frame rate of ~16 KHz was chosen as an optimum between SNR degradation and temporal profile recognition accuracy. In contrast to a single SPAD, the 2D array allows for multiple events to be processed simultaneously. Moreover, a significant field of view is covered, enabling comprehensive surveillance and imaging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2015
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9492, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques IX, 94920N (13 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2180334
Show Author Affiliations
Vitali Savuskan, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Claudio Jakobson, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Tomer Merhav, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Avi Shoham, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Igor Brouk, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee (Israel)
Yael Nemirovsky, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee (Israel)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9492:
Advanced Photon Counting Techniques IX
Mark A. Itzler; Joe C. Campbell, Editor(s)

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