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Proceedings Paper

All-digital full waveform recording photon counting flash lidar
Author(s): Christian J. Grund; Alex Harwit
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Paper Abstract

Current generation analog and photon counting flash lidar approaches suffer from limitation in waveform depth, dynamic range, sensitivity, false alarm rates, optical acceptance angle (f/#), optical and electronic cross talk, and pixel density. To address these issues Ball Aerospace is developing a new approach to flash lidar that employs direct coupling of a photocathode and microchannel plate front end to a high-speed, pipelined, all-digital Read Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC) to achieve photon-counting temporal waveform capture in each pixel on each laser return pulse. A unique characteristic is the absence of performance-limiting analog or mixed signal components. When implemented in 65nm CMOS technology, the Ball Intensified Imaging Photon Counting (I2PC) flash lidar FPA technology can record up to 300 photon arrivals in each pixel with 100 ps resolution on each photon return, with up to 6000 range bins in each pixel. The architecture supports near 100% fill factor and fast optical system designs (f/#<1), and array sizes to 3000×3000 pixels. Compared to existing technologies, >60 dB ultimate dynamic range improvement, and >104 reductions in false alarm rates are anticipated, while achieving single photon range precision better than 1cm. I2PC significantly extends long-range and low-power hard target imaging capabilities useful for autonomous hazard avoidance (ALHAT), navigation, imaging vibrometry, and inspection applications, and enables scannerless 3D imaging for distributed target applications such as range-resolved atmospheric remote sensing, vegetation canopies, and camouflage penetration from terrestrial, airborne, GEO, and LEO platforms. We discuss the I2PC architecture, development status, anticipated performance advantages, and limitations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 August 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7780, Detectors and Imaging Devices: Infrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon, 778014 (18 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.863257
Show Author Affiliations
Christian J. Grund, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Alex Harwit, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7780:
Detectors and Imaging Devices: Infrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon
Eustace L. Dereniak; Randolph E. Longshore; Manijeh Razeghi; John P. Hartke; Ashok K. Sood; Paul D. LeVan, Editor(s)

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