Time of flight LiDARs are used for auto-driving of vehicles, while FMCW LiDARs potentially achieve a higher sensitivity. In this study, we fabricated and tested each component of a FMCW LiDAR based on Si photonics and experimentally simulated the ranging action. Here, we drove a Si photonic crystal slow light modulator with linearly frequency-chirped signal in the frequency band of 500–1000 MHz and a repetition frequency of 100 kHz, to generate FM-signal light from a narrow-linewidth laser source. Next, we branched the signal light into two paths. One was inserted into a fiber delay line of 20–320 m and its output was irradiated to a photonic crystal slow beam steering device acting as an optical antenna via the free-space transmission. When the irradiation angle was optimized so that the antenna gain took maximum for a set laser wavelength, light was efficiently coupled into the antenna. We mixed the light output from the antenna with reference light of the other path with no delay, and detected it by balanced photodiodes. We observed a beat signal whose frequency well agreed with the theoretical value predicted from the length of the delay line. Thus, we succeeded in the experimental simulation of the FMCW LiDAR. We also observed a spectral sequence around the beat spectrum, in which the inter-frequency spacing equals the repetition frequency and corresponds to a range resolution of 30 cm which will be improved by expanding the modulation bandwidth.
Yuya Furukado, Hiroshi Abe, Yosuke Hinakura, and Toshihiko Baba, "Experimental simulation of ranging action using Si photonic crystal modulator and optical antenna," Proc. SPIE 10539, Photonic Instrumentation Engineering V, 1053905 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2018; Published: 22 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289414.
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