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22 April 2020 General-purpose imaging with single-photon cameras (Conference Presentation)
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Single-photon sensor technology is rapidly emerging as the optical sensor technology of choice in specialized low flux imaging applications such as long-range LiDAR, fluorescence microscopy and non-line-of-sight imaging. We ask the question: Can single-photon sensors be used more broadly as general-purpose image sensors for passive 2D intensity imaging? We derive a photon flux estimator using the number of photons detected in a fixed exposure time by a dead-time-limited single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) sensor. Unlike a conventional image sensor pixel that has a hard saturation limit due to its full well capacity, our SPAD-based passive imaging method has a non-linear response that never saturates. This enables SPADs to operate not only at extremely low photon flux levels but also at extremely high flux levels, several orders of magnitude higher than the saturation limit of conventional image sensors. We present a comprehensive theoretical analysis of the effect of various design parameters on the signal-to-noise-ratio and dynamic range of a passively operated SPAD pixel, and also demonstrate the dynamic range improvement experimentally.
Conference Presentation
© (2020) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Atul Ingle, Andreas Velten, and Mohit Gupta "General-purpose imaging with single-photon cameras (Conference Presentation)", Proc. SPIE 11396, Computational Imaging V, 113960C (22 April 2020);

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