Abstract

In this article the problem of achieving fast scanning of a time-of-flight range sensor with a large optical receiver aperture at low system cost is targeted. The presented approach to solve this problem consists of a micromirror-based transmitter unit and a receiver unit consisting of a large aperture lens system with a small field of view and a detector array. A concept, which is called synchronous detector switching, is applied to the detector array. Thereby electronic steering of the small receiver field of view is possible. The overall approach is compared to alternative approaches, and the underlying concept of synchronous detector switching is demonstrated experimentally in an implementation of a three-dimensional time-of-flight range sensor. It is theoretically shown that the presented concept is potentially cheaper than the alternative approaches for applications with a field of view of less than 60×60°. After a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the approach, its effect on broader scientific issues is outlined.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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