On Laser Ranging Based on High-Speed/Energy Laser Diode Pulses and Single-Photon Detection Techniques

Juha Kostamovaara*, Jaakko Huikari, Lauri Hallman, Ilkka Nissinen, Jan Nissinen, Harri Rapakko, Eugene Avrutin, Boris Ryvkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the construction principles and performance of a pulsed time-of-flight (TOF) laser radar based on high-speed (FWHM ≃100 ps) and high-energy ( ≃1 nJ) optical transmitter pulses produced with a specific laser diode working in an "enhanced gain-switching" regime and based on single-photon detection in the receiver. It is shown by analysis and experiments that single-shot precision at the level of 2... 3 cm is achievable. The effective measurement rate can exceed 10 kHz to a noncooperative target (20% reflectivity) at a distance of > 50m, with an effective receiver aperture size of 2.5 cm2. The effect of background illumination is analyzed. It is shown that the gating of the SPAD detector is an effective means to avoid the blocking of the receiver in a high-level background illumination case. A brief comparison with pulsed TOF laser radars employing linear detection techniques is also made.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7049394
JournalIeee photonics journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Instrumentation
  • Laser radar
  • Pulsed time-of-flight
  • Sensors
  • Single photon detection

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