Abstract

Sensitive laser ranging was demonstrated at few-photon level using photon-number-resolving (PNR) detectors. The reflected photon pulses from a non-cooperation remote target were distinguished in a sunlight environment of 2.5×103lx by setting the discrimination threshold at 5-photon level. By comparing the detected photon numbers, two remote targets with different reflection coefficients were well recognized. PNR detection facilitated remote laser ranging of few-photon sensitivity with similar capabilities of linear optical detectors. This technique avoids photon-counting saturation and is important for ultra-long distance LIDAR and 3D imaging at a few photon level.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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