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Proceedings Paper

A technology review of time-of-flight photon counting for advanced remote sensing
Author(s): Robert A. Lamb
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Paper Abstract

Time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) has made tremendous progress during the past ten years enabling improved performance in precision time-of-flight (TOF) rangefinding and lidar. In this review the development and performance of several ranging systems is presented that use TCSPC for accurate ranging and range profiling over distances up to 17km. A range resolution of a few millimetres is routinely achieved over distances of several kilometres. These systems include single wavelength devices operating in the visible; multi-wavelength systems covering the visible and near infra-red; the use of electronic gating to reduce in-band solar background and, most recently, operation at high repetition rates without range aliasing- typically 10MHz over several kilometres. These systems operate at very low optical power (<100μW). The technique therefore has potential for eye-safe lidar monitoring of the environment and obvious military, security and surveillance sensing applications. The review will highlight the theoretical principles of photon counting and progress made in developing absolute ranging techniques that enable high repetition rate data acquisition that avoids range aliasing. Technology trends in TCSPC rangefinding are merging with those of quantum cryptography and its future application to revolutionary quantum imaging provides diverse and exciting research into secure covert sensing, ultra-low power active imaging and quantum rangefinding.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7681, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques IV, 768107 (27 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852138
Show Author Affiliations
Robert A. Lamb, SELEX Galileo Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7681:
Advanced Photon Counting Techniques IV
Mark A. Itzler; Joe C. Campbell, Editor(s)

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