Presentation + Paper
5 March 2021 3D imaging via silicon-photonics-based LIDAR
Author Affiliations +
Accurate 3D imaging is essential for machines to map and interact with the physical world1,2. While numerous 3D imaging technologies exist, each addressing niche applications with varying degrees of success, none have achieved the breadth of applicability and impact that digital image sensors have achieved in the 2D imaging world3-10. A large-scale twodimensional array of coherent detector pixels operating as a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system could serve as a universal 3D imaging platform. Such a system would other high depth accuracy and immunity to interference from sunlight, as well as the ability to directly measure the velocity of moving objects11. However, due to difficulties in providing electrical and photonic connections to every pixel, previous systems have been restricted to fewer than 20 pixels12-15. Here, we demonstrate the first large-scale coherent detector array consisting of 512 (32×16) pixels, and its operation in a 3D imaging system. Leveraging recent advances in the monolithic integration of photonic and electronic circuits, a dense array of optical heterodyne detectors is combined with an integrated electronic readout architecture, enabling straightforward scaling to arbitrarily large arrays. Meanwhile, two-axis solid-state beam steering eliminates any tradeoff between field of view and range. Operating at the quantum noise limit16,17, our system achieves an accuracy of 3.1 mm at a distance of 75 meters using only 4 mW of light, an order of magnitude more accurate than existing solid-state systems at such ranges. Future reductions of pixel size using state-of-the-art components could yield resolutions in excess of 20 megapixels for arrays the size of a consumer camera sensor. This result paves the way for the development and proliferation of low cost, compact, and high-performance 3D imaging cameras, enabling new applications from robotics and autonomous navigation to augmented reality and healthcare.
Conference Presentation
© (2021) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Remus Nicolaescu, Christopher Rogers, Alexander Y. Piggott, David J. Thomson, Ion E. Opris, Steven A. Fortune, Andrew J. Compston, Alexander Gondarenko, Fanfan Meng, Xia Chen, and Graham T. Reed "3D imaging via silicon-photonics-based LIDAR", Proc. SPIE 11691, Silicon Photonics XVI, 116910G (5 March 2021);
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