29 April 2010 3D imaging laser radar using Geiger-mode APDs: analysis and experiments
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For a direct-detection 3D imaging ladar, the use of Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (APD) could greatly enhance the detection efficiency of the receiver since each range measurement requires only one detected photon. Single photon sensitivity of the detector offers significant advantages in reducing receiver size, mass and power and reducing laser complexity. This paper studies the 3D imaging ladar using APDs which are actively quenched and gated to operate at Geiger-mode to detect short weak laser echo pulse. The detection model of this detector as well as the detection probability and false alarm probability for this ladar is analyzed and discussed. The analysis shows that the major factors influencing system design are the background light noise and the dead time of the Geiger-mode APD. Then the noise which affects the false alarm probability is analyzed and calculated and the measures to extract the weak signal echo from a high noise background are put forward. The research also shows that using a detector array instead of a single detector could reduce the false alarm probability by orders of magnitude. Finally a 3D imaging brassboard system which utilizes Geiger-mode APDs, a fast pulse, high repetition rate laser, and an optical scanner is described, and some experimental results obtained by this system are presented and analyzed. The results suggest that if the background light noise is sufficiently suppressed, 3D images of the targets could be successfully taken by the ladar using Geiger-mode APDs.
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Ying Guo, Ying Guo, Genghua Huang, Genghua Huang, Rong Shu, Rong Shu, } "3D imaging laser radar using Geiger-mode APDs: analysis and experiments", Proc. SPIE 7684, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XV, 768402 (29 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849222; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.849222

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