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SPAD-based flash LiDAR sensor with high ambient light rejection for automotive applications

: Beer, Maik; Schrey, Olaf; Haase, Jan F.; Ruskowski, Jennifer; Brockherde, Werner; Hosticka, Bedrich J.; Kokozinski, Rainer


Razeghi, Manijeh (Hrsg.) ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV : 27 January - 1 February 2018, San Francisco, California, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2018 (Proceedings of SPIE 10540)
Paper 105402G, 8 S.
Conference "Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics" <15, 2018, San Francisco/Calif.>
Fraunhofer IMS ()
photon coincidence; single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD); Time-of-Flight (ToF); range imaging; light detection and ranging (LIDAR); background rejection

LiDAR is a key sensor technology for future driving. For autonomous vehicles a fast and reliable three dimensional monitoring of the environment is essential for managing a wide variety of common traffic situations. Since these kinds of systems use typically light in the near infrared range, ambient light of the sun is a serious problem due to its high intensity compared to the laser source. Therefore, reducing the influence of ambient light on the distance measurement is very important. In this paper we present a 2 × 192 pixel SPAD-based direct time-of-flight line sensor for flash LiDAR applications with high ambient light rejection integrated in standard CMOS technology. Two commercially available 905 nm laser diodes emitting short pulses are employed for scene illumination. For time measurement an in-pixel timeto- digital-converter with a resolution of 312.5 ps and full range of 1.28 μs has been implemented. Each pixel uses four vertically arranged single SPADs for background light rejection based on the detection of temporal correlated photons. This technique allows the discrimination of the received laser pulse buried in the superimposed background light and, hence, to improve the measurement quality. Additionally, different parameters of the coincidence detection circuit, such as coincidence depth and time, can be varied during operation to enable a real time adjustment to the present ambient light condition, which is measured between each laser shot by operating the sensor in photon counting mode. By using this technique the sensor allows a reliable distance measurement at various ambient and target conditions.