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Outdoor single-photon counting panoramic 3D imaging
Author(s): Markus Henriksson; Lars Allard; Maria Axelsson; Gustav Tolt; Per Jonsson; Lars Sjöqvist
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Paper Abstract

Single-photon counting lidar using Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GmAPD) arrays can provide high resolution 3D images at kilometer stand-off distances through coincidence processing. 3D data is useful for detection and identification of targets, especially those so occluded by vegetation that only small patches, smaller than the instantaneous field-of-view of a sensor pixel, have free line-of-sight. To cover an area of interest, e.g. the edge of a forest, with spatial resolution high enough to identify targets, a multimegapixel 3D image is needed. Current GmAPD arrays are limited to tens of kilopixels. Even if the technical challenges of larger arrays could be solved, the necessary pulse energy per pixel will still limit the effective number of pixels at longer ranges, especially if nominal ocular hazard distance (NOHD) is a concern or if short pulse fiber lasers should be used. Thus scanning of the sensor field-of-view will probably always be necessary. In this paper we describe activities at FOI to explore the potential of single-photon counting panoramic 3D imaging using a GmAPD array detector. Results from outdoor experiments at up to 1.2 km stand-off distances, in day and night conditions, are shown. The impact of background light, and how this is handled by changing the aperture stop size, is considered. Signal processing techniques to go from scattered photon detections via 3D point clouds to voxel-based scene analysis are described. The results support the position that single-photon counting with GmAPD arrays is suitable for 3D imaging in military applications with kilometer stand-off distances.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2019
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 10978, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIII, 1097807 (13 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2520696
Show Author Affiliations
Markus Henriksson, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)
Lars Allard, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)
Maria Axelsson, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)
Gustav Tolt, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)
Per Jonsson, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)
Lars Sjöqvist, FOI-Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10978:
Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIII
Mark A. Itzler; Joshua C. Bienfang; K. Alex McIntosh, Editor(s)

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