Amplification Technologies Corp. ("ATC"), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of PowerSafe Technology, announces today the availability of a new family of Discrete Amplification Photon Detector (DAPD) Geiger mode avalanche photodiode arrays for 3D LIDAR and other applications. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) range finding systems have been in use for many years for civil and defense applications, measuring distance using a pulse of a laser beam aimed toward an object and measuring the time]of]flight of the reflected beam.
A similar approach is used to create 3D images of fixed or moving objects, useful for generating and complementing conventional image technologies in autonomous terrestrial vehicles (including self-driving cars) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For 3D imaging, the conventional approach uses a single laser beam opto]mechanical scanner, requiring sophisticated optics and long scanning times. Recently a better approach is being explored for real]time 3D imaging of moving targets: single pulse LIDAR imaging using arrays. Each channel of the array receives the reflected signal of a single laser pulse from the object thus building a 3D image. Repetition of this single-pulse measurement adds the ability to track the object's movement over time.
Amplification Technologies' 5x5 (25 pixel) DAPD array offers single-photon level detection ability, wide dynamic range, and a wide linearity range, and an extremely high repetition rate of up to 50MHz. In addition, the DAPD array can operate in an always-on mode with fast response. The DAPD array uses discrete amplification photon detector (DAPD) technology, which monolithically integrates a negative feedback circuit within the photodetector to create very high sensitivity.
We offer these arrays both at the component level and as a module that includes a network of pre-amplifiers. This module can simplify evaluation and facilitate integration with analog to digital conversion systems. A 5x5 module is currently available and a 10x10 module is currently under development. The 5x5 array module includes a network of 25 independent pre-amplifiers and an active thermo-electric cooler that is capable of cooling the DAPD array sensor to 40C‹. Each of these 25 pixels is amplified individually to allow for separated simultaneous signal processing of each pixel. The operating wavelength range of the array is from 950nm to 1650nm.
Key array features and their importance for real-time 3D imaging
950nm to 1650nm wavelength range:
These arrays operate in the eye-safe range (unlike the combination of a silicon detector and a GaAs laser).
High sensitivity, up to single photon level:
The 3D LIDAR systems are intended to operate in mission -critical conditions. Conditions such as snow, fog, heavy rain, as well as the long range necessary for high-speed vehicles (UAVs, motor vehicles), require the ability to operate at a very low number of photons per reflected pulse. Our arrays feature high sensitivity and a wide dynamic range to address these requirements
Wide dynamic range and ability to detect various grey levels
Reflections from objects can differ dramatically based on the material and the environment such as the weather condition.
High repetition rate throughput:
The signal to noise improves dramatically: more signals can be transmitted / received at a given time which facilitates the use of error correction algorithms.
Direct parallel access to all pixels:
Simultaneous, parallel processing improves the digital signal processing speed. Unlike imaging such as video, where a low repetition rate (60 frames per sec) allows for serialization, and hence relatively slow-rate retrieval of information from each pixel our arrays provide the parallel signal processing required for real-time 3D imaging.
For more information please visit our website www.amplificationtechnologies.com and review the data sheet for our NIRDAPD 5x5 array