Abstract

This paper describes a rapid data acquisition photon-counting time-of-flight ranging technique that is designed for the avoidance of range ambiguity, an issue commonly found in high repetition frequency time-off-light systems. The technique transmits a non-periodic pulse train based on the random bin filling of a high frequency time clock. A received pattern is formed from the arrival times of the returning single photons and the correlation between the transmitted and received patterns was used to identify the unique target time-of-flight. The paper describes experiments in laboratory and in free space at over several hundred meters range at clock frequencies of 1GHz. Unambiguous photon-counting range-finding is demonstrated with centimeter accuracy.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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  1. J. S. Massa, A. M. Wallace, G. S. Buller, S. J. Fancey and A. C. Walker, "Laser depth measurement based on time-correlated single photon counting," Opt. Lett. 22, 543 (1997).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. G. S. Buller, R. D. Harkins, A. McCarthy, P. A. Hiskett, G. R. MacKinnon, G. R. Smith, R. Sung, A. M. Wallace, R. A. Lamb, K. A. Ridley and J. G. Rarity, "A multiple wavelength time-of-flight sensor based on time-correlated single-photon counting," Rev. Sci.Instrum. 76, 083112-083112-7 (2005).
    [CrossRef]
  3. G. S. Buller and A. M. Wallace "Recent advances in Ranging and Three-Dimensional imaging using time-correlated single-photon counting," J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron 13, 1006-1015 (2007)
    [CrossRef]
  4. R. E. Warburton, A McCarthy, A. M. Wallace, S. Hernandez-Marin, R. H. Hadfield, S. W. Nam, and G. S. Buller, "Sub-centimeter depth resolution using a single-photon counting time-of-flight laser ranging system at 1550nm wavelength," Opt. Lett. 32, 2266-2268 (2007).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. "GT6558, PC-based Time Interval Analyzer," http://www.jitter.com/products/pcBase/658_1.htm
  6. C. Elachi and J. Van Zyl, Introduction to the Physics and Techniques of Remote Sensing, 2nd Edition, (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) pp. 232-234.
  7. C. H. Bennett and G. Brassard, "Quantum Cryptography: Public-key distribution and coin tossing," Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Computers, Systems and Signal Proc 175 - 179, (1984).
  8. R. J. Hughes, T. E. Chapuran, N. Dallmann, P. A. Hiskett, K. P. McCabe, P. M. Montano, J. E. Nordholt, C.G. Peterson, R. J. Runser, R. Sedillo, K. Tyagi, and C. C. Wipf, "A quantum key distribution system for optical fiber networks," Proc. SPIE Quantum Communication and Quantum Imaging 5893, 589301.1-589301.10 (2005).
  9. P. A. Hiskett, C. G. Peterson, D. Rosenberg, S. Nam, A. E. Lita, A. J. Miller, R. J. Hughes, and J. E. Nordholt, "A novel switched interferometric quantum key distribution system," Proc SPIE Quantum Communication and Quantum Imaging V. 6710, 67100S-67100S-12 (2007).
  10. G. W. Stimson, Introduction to Airborne Radar, 2nd Ed. (SciTech Publishing Inc, 1998), pp. 156-157.
  11. S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
    [CrossRef]
  12. M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
    [CrossRef]

2007

G. S. Buller and A. M. Wallace "Recent advances in Ranging and Three-Dimensional imaging using time-correlated single-photon counting," J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron 13, 1006-1015 (2007)
[CrossRef]

R. E. Warburton, A McCarthy, A. M. Wallace, S. Hernandez-Marin, R. H. Hadfield, S. W. Nam, and G. S. Buller, "Sub-centimeter depth resolution using a single-photon counting time-of-flight laser ranging system at 1550nm wavelength," Opt. Lett. 32, 2266-2268 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

2000

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

1997

Buller, G. S.

G. S. Buller and A. M. Wallace "Recent advances in Ranging and Three-Dimensional imaging using time-correlated single-photon counting," J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron 13, 1006-1015 (2007)
[CrossRef]

R. E. Warburton, A McCarthy, A. M. Wallace, S. Hernandez-Marin, R. H. Hadfield, S. W. Nam, and G. S. Buller, "Sub-centimeter depth resolution using a single-photon counting time-of-flight laser ranging system at 1550nm wavelength," Opt. Lett. 32, 2266-2268 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

J. S. Massa, A. M. Wallace, G. S. Buller, S. J. Fancey and A. C. Walker, "Laser depth measurement based on time-correlated single photon counting," Opt. Lett. 22, 543 (1997).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cova, S.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Fancey, S. J.

Ghioni, M.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Gulinatti, A.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Hadfield, R. H.

Hernandez-Marin, S.

Massa, J. S.

McCarthy, A

Nam, S. W.

Pellegrini, S.

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Rech, I.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Smith, J. M.

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Walker, A. C.

Wallace, A. M.

R. E. Warburton, A McCarthy, A. M. Wallace, S. Hernandez-Marin, R. H. Hadfield, S. W. Nam, and G. S. Buller, "Sub-centimeter depth resolution using a single-photon counting time-of-flight laser ranging system at 1550nm wavelength," Opt. Lett. 32, 2266-2268 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. S. Buller and A. M. Wallace "Recent advances in Ranging and Three-Dimensional imaging using time-correlated single-photon counting," J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron 13, 1006-1015 (2007)
[CrossRef]

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

J. S. Massa, A. M. Wallace, G. S. Buller, S. J. Fancey and A. C. Walker, "Laser depth measurement based on time-correlated single photon counting," Opt. Lett. 22, 543 (1997).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Warburton, R. E.

Zappa, F.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron.

M. Ghioni, A. Gulinatti, I. Rech, F. Zappa, and S. Cova, "Progress in silicon single-photon avalanche diodes," IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 13, 852-862 (2007).
[CrossRef]

J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron

G. S. Buller and A. M. Wallace "Recent advances in Ranging and Three-Dimensional imaging using time-correlated single-photon counting," J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron 13, 1006-1015 (2007)
[CrossRef]

Meas. Sci. Technol.

S. Pellegrini, G. S. Buller, J. M. Smith, A. M. Wallace, and S. Cova, "Laser-based distance measurement using picosecond resolution time-correlated single-photon counting," Meas. Sci. Technol. 11, 712-716 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Lett.

Other

G. S. Buller, R. D. Harkins, A. McCarthy, P. A. Hiskett, G. R. MacKinnon, G. R. Smith, R. Sung, A. M. Wallace, R. A. Lamb, K. A. Ridley and J. G. Rarity, "A multiple wavelength time-of-flight sensor based on time-correlated single-photon counting," Rev. Sci.Instrum. 76, 083112-083112-7 (2005).
[CrossRef]

"GT6558, PC-based Time Interval Analyzer," http://www.jitter.com/products/pcBase/658_1.htm

C. Elachi and J. Van Zyl, Introduction to the Physics and Techniques of Remote Sensing, 2nd Edition, (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) pp. 232-234.

C. H. Bennett and G. Brassard, "Quantum Cryptography: Public-key distribution and coin tossing," Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Computers, Systems and Signal Proc 175 - 179, (1984).

R. J. Hughes, T. E. Chapuran, N. Dallmann, P. A. Hiskett, K. P. McCabe, P. M. Montano, J. E. Nordholt, C.G. Peterson, R. J. Runser, R. Sedillo, K. Tyagi, and C. C. Wipf, "A quantum key distribution system for optical fiber networks," Proc. SPIE Quantum Communication and Quantum Imaging 5893, 589301.1-589301.10 (2005).

P. A. Hiskett, C. G. Peterson, D. Rosenberg, S. Nam, A. E. Lita, A. J. Miller, R. J. Hughes, and J. E. Nordholt, "A novel switched interferometric quantum key distribution system," Proc SPIE Quantum Communication and Quantum Imaging V. 6710, 67100S-67100S-12 (2007).

G. W. Stimson, Introduction to Airborne Radar, 2nd Ed. (SciTech Publishing Inc, 1998), pp. 156-157.

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Figures (11)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

A schematic of the system used to determine length of a reel of optical fiber. The pulse pattern generator (PPG) and time-stamping board (TSB) were phase locked using an external clock. A random pattern of 96000 bits was generated with a clock frequency of 1GHz and uploaded into the PPG. The probability of a ‘1’ bit in the pattern was determined by the random number threshold which was set to 0.1. An attenuator was used to attenuate the pulse so that, on average, less than a single photon per laser pulse reaches the single photon avalanche diode (SPAD). A continuous wave (CW) source was used to introduce background counts at the SPAD. The laser pulses were coupled into a ~2.2km reel of single mode optical fiber and coupled into the SPAD. The clicks from the SPAD were time-stamped by a Guidetech GT658 TSB.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

A graph of the number of correlating bits between the transmitted and received patterns against number of pattern steps for 5 different photocount levels. At each step position, all 100 000 bits in the received pattern were compared to the corresponding bits in the transmitted pattern.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

The timing response histogram of the time-stamped detected photon events, illustrating a system jitter of 440ps (FWHM)

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

A graph of the number of correlating bits (in 10 000 random comparisons of post-windowed bits) between transmitted and received patterns against time-of-flight for five photocount levels at a background count rate of 100 000 c/s. As described in the text, the raw time-stamps were modified by the subtraction of a time value between 10650ns and 10653ns in steps of 50ps. A bit value was retained if it coincided with a window of width ±200ps centered on the 1ns-clock reference. For each step, the retained bits form the received pattern and the number of correlating bits between the transmitted and received patterns was determined. The subtracted time value that yields the highest correlation corresponds to the time-of-flight..

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

A graph of the number of correlating bits (in 10 000 random comparisons of post windowed bits) between transmitted and received patterns. In this case, four different background levels are shown of 25 000 c/s, 50 000 c/s, 100 000 c/s and 500 000 c/s using the same analysis technique used in Fig. 4.

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

A graph of the number of correlating bits (in 10 000 random comparisons) between transmitted and received patterns against time-of-flight analyzed at four different window widths of ±100ps, ±200ps, ±300ps and ±500ps. The photocount rate was 10 000c/s, the background count rate was 100 000 c/s and 100 000 time-stamps were recorded in all cases.

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

The optical arrangement of the free-space ranging system. The VCSEL was mounted on the rim of the telescope and was triggered by the same randomly produced pattern as used in the fiber experiment. The output of the VSCEL was collimated and aligned onto the retroreflectors.

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

A graph of number of correlations against time-of-flight for 6 example positions of the moveable corner cube along the optical rail (for clarity only 6 from the 11 recorded returns are shown). As in Fig. 4, the raw time-stamps were modified by the successive subtraction of 50ps increments between 2196ns and 2204ns. The timing window used was ±500ps. The front corner cube was obscured for these experiments.

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

A graph of the measured range using the technique shown in Fig. 8 against the relative position of the moveable corner cube. .

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

Graphs of the number of correlating bits between transmitted and received patterns against time-of-flight. The raw time-stamps were modified by subtracting time values between 2196ns and 2204ns in steps of 50ps. The window width was ±500ps centered on the 1ns-clock reference so that all the bits were retained. Also shown is the result for the 10cm separation (labeled 10cm*) obtained using a ±100ps timing window, all the post windowed bits were used to determine the time-of-flight. For clarity, not all separation distances are shown.

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

Graph of measured separation of the two corner cubes against actual separation. A best fitting straight line with unity gradient is shown. The separation was measured using a ±500ps measurement window for all points except for 10cm and 15cm which were determined using a ±100ps and a ±200ps window respectively.

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