There are many situations in optics (such as heterodyne microscopy and some biomedical imaging applications ) where the required information is carried on a modulated component of the received image. When, as frequently is the case, the frequency of modulation exceeds the frame rate of conventional imagers (i.e. CCD or CMOS charge integrating active pixel sensor cameras) this modulated component must be detected by a single detector rather than imaged in parallel by and array or camera. It is for these reasons that there is a pressing need for the development of new imaging technologies. In this paper we present a lock-in pixel for a CMOS modulated light camera (MLC) capable of detecting modulated components in the incident light. The detected frequency is independent of, and is much higher than the frame rate of any conventional commercial camera. The pixel presented here is capable of narrow band lock-in detection of light modulated between 10MHz and 75MHz even when superimposed on a large ambient background. We present the design of this pixel and experimental results that optically image the ultrasound field using a pixel fabricated in a standard 0.35mm CMOS process. We also discuss the current work increasing the frequency response, providing phase sensitive (I and Q) detection and the development of an imaging array leading to a full field modulated light camera.
The design of a single integrated lock-in pixel with a logarithmic response for a modulated light camera is described. The sensor has been designed to detect low light levels and can detect modulated light with frequency well above 2 MHz. An n-well photodiode, amplifier, mixer and 150 Hz low-pass filter have been implemented to allow continuous processing of the incident light. The performance of the sensor is demonstrated using an optoacoustic imaging system and tissue phantoms. A 1 MHz ultrasound transducer is used to modulate light scattered through a tissue phantom. An absorbing sphere is scanned through the medium and the improvement in imaging performance provided by ultrasound modulation is demonstrated.