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Proceedings Paper

Multi-channel photon counting three-dimensional imaging laser radar system using fiber array coupled Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode
Author(s): Rong Shu; Genghua Huang; Libing Hou; Zhiping He; Yihua Hu
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Paper Abstract

Photon counting laser radar is the most sensitive and efficiency detection method of direct-detection laser radar. With the use of Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (APD) or other single photon detectors, every laser photon could be sufficiently used for ranging and three-dimensional imaging. The average energy of received laser signal could be as low as a single photon, or even less than one. This feature of photon counting laser radar enables ranging under conditions of long range, low laser pulse energy, and multi-pixel detection, while receiver size, mass, power, and complexity of laser radar are reduced. In this paper, a latest multi-channel photon counting 3D imaging laser radar system using fiber array coupled Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (APD) is introduced. Detection model based on Poisson statistics of a photon counting laser radar is discussed. A laser radar system, working under daylight condition with ultra-low signal level (less than single photon per pulse), has been designed and analyzed with the detection model and photon counting three-dimensional imaging theory. A passively Q-switched microchip laser is used to transmit short sub-nanosecond laser pulses at 532nm. The output laser is divided into 1×8 laser spots, which correspond to 8 Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes coupled by a 1×8-pixel fiber array. A FPGA based time-to-digital converter (TDC), which is designed by delay line interpolation technology, is used for multi-hit signal acquisition. The algorithm of photon counting three-dimensional imaging is developed for signal photon events extraction and noise filter. Three-dimensional images under daylight conditions were acquired and analyzed. The results show that system could operate at strong solar background. The ranging accuracy of the system is 6.3cm (σ) while received laser pulse signal level is only 0.04 photoelectrons on average. The advantages and feasibility of photon counting laser radar working at daylight have been demonstrated experimentally.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 November 2012
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 8542, Electro-Optical Remote Sensing, Photonic Technologies, and Applications VI, 85420C (19 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.974365
Show Author Affiliations
Rong Shu, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (China)
Genghua Huang, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (China)
Libing Hou, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (China)
Zhiping He, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (China)
Yihua Hu, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (China)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8542:
Electro-Optical Remote Sensing, Photonic Technologies, and Applications VI
Gary W. Kamerman; Ove Steinvall; Gary J. Bishop; John Gonglewski; Mark T. Gruneisen; Miloslav Dusek; John G. Rarity; Keith L. Lewis; Richard C. Hollins; Thomas J. Merlet, Editor(s)

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