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13 November 2014 Optimized design of a TOF laser range finder based on time-correlated single-photon counting
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A time-of-flight (TOF) laser range finder based on time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) has been developed. By using a Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (G-APD) with the ability of detecting single-photon events and Time-to-Digital Converter (TDC) with picosecond resolution, a good linearity with 4.5 cm range precision can be achieved in the range of 1-10 m. This paper highlights a significant advance in improving the key parameters of this system, including the range precision and measurement dynamic range. In our experiments, it was found that both of the precision and the measurement dynamic range were limited by the signal to noise rate (SNR) and the inherent jitter of system. The range precision can be improved by enhancing the SNR of system. However, when the SNR is high enough, the main factors affecting the range precision will turn into the inherent jitter, which makes the range precision can not be improved infinitely. Moreover, the inherent jitter generated by pulsed laser and the signal processing module has been measured, and its influence on the system performance has also been discussed. Taking all of these factors into account, some optimized designs have been proposed to improve range precision and dynamic range simultaneously. The final experiment results show that, after all of these optimization designs, the range precision of system is better than 1.2 cm and the measurement dynamic range is enlarged to 54 m when the sampling time is as short as 1 ms, which is sufficient for many applications of 3D object recognition, computer vision, reverse engineering and virtual reality.
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Huanqin Wang, Yixin Yang, Zhe Huang, YangYang Cao, and Huaqiao Gui "Optimized design of a TOF laser range finder based on time-correlated single-photon counting", Proc. SPIE 9276, Optical Metrology and Inspection for Industrial Applications III, 92760A (13 November 2014);

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