22 May 2012 Geiger-mode APD camera system for single-photon 3D LADAR imaging
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Abstract
The unparalleled sensitivity of 3D LADAR imaging sensors based on single photon detection provides substantial benefits for imaging at long stand-off distances and minimizing laser pulse energy requirements. To obtain 3D LADAR images with single photon sensitivity, we have demonstrated focal plane arrays (FPAs) based on InGaAsP Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes (GmAPDs) optimized for use at either 1.06 μm or 1.55 μm. These state-of-the-art FPAs exhibit excellent pixel-level performance and the capability for 100% pixel yield on a 32 x 32 format. To realize the full potential of these FPAs, we have recently developed an integrated camera system providing turnkey operation based on FPGA control. This system implementation enables the extremely high frame-rate capability of the GmAPD FPA, and frame rates in excess of 250 kHz (for 0.4 μs range gates) can be accommodated using an industry-standard CameraLink interface in full configuration. Real-time data streaming for continuous acquisition of 2 μs range gate point cloud data with 13-bit time-stamp resolution at 186 kHz frame rates has been established using multiple solid-state storage drives. Range gate durations spanning 4 ns to 10 μs provide broad operational flexibility. The camera also provides real-time signal processing in the form of multi-frame gray-scale contrast images and single-frame time-stamp histograms, and automated bias control has been implemented to maintain a constant photon detection efficiency in the presence of ambient temperature changes. A comprehensive graphical user interface has been developed to provide complete camera control using a simple serial command set, and this command set supports highly flexible end-user customization.
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Mark Entwistle, Mark Entwistle, Mark A. Itzler, Mark A. Itzler, Jim Chen, Jim Chen, Mark Owens, Mark Owens, Ketan Patel, Ketan Patel, Xudong Jiang, Xudong Jiang, Krystyna Slomkowski, Krystyna Slomkowski, Sabbir Rangwala, Sabbir Rangwala, } "Geiger-mode APD camera system for single-photon 3D LADAR imaging", Proc. SPIE 8375, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques VI, 83750D (22 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.921004; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.921004
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