Arrays of Single Photon Avalanche Diodes in CMOS Technology: Picosecond Timing Resolution for Range Imaging (INVITED)
A solid-state imager fabricated in CMOS technology is presented for depth information capture of arbitrary 3D objects with millimeter resolution. The system is based on an array of 32x32 pixels that independently measure the time-of-flight of a ray of light as it is reflected back from the objects in a scene. A single cone of pulsed laser light illuminates the scene, thus no complex mechanical scanning is required. Millimetric depth accuracies can be reached thanks to the rangefinder’s optical detectors that enable picosecond time discrimination. The detectors, based on a single photon avalanche diode operating in Geiger mode, utilize avalanche multiplication to enhance light detection. Optical power requirements on the light source can therefore be significantly relaxed. A number of standard performance measurements, conducted on the imager, are discussed in this paper. The 3D imaging system was also tested on real 3D subjects demonstrating the suitability of the approach.