A fast- and low-noise optical receiver using a silicon avalanche photodiode coupled to a very high-frequency preamplifier circuit is developed, characterized, and tested. The gain, bandwidth, and noise of the preamplifier are optimized to the avalanche photodiode performance to achieve detection and amplification without distortion of the fast and weak optical signal. A low noise level at the preamplifier circuit input of only 1.6 nV/Hz1/2 and a very good linearity from 1 kHz to 280 MHz are achieved. In addition, a good detection performance of the optical receiver is attained: A low-noise equivalent power of only 1.2 pW/Hz1/2 and a minimum signal-to-noise ratio requirement of only 3 are reached. Furthermore, the maximum detection range of the light detection and ranging remote sensing system, using the developed optical receiver, is estimated.