Abstract

An autofocus technique is proposed for a three-dimensional imaging, direct-detection laser radar system that uses a Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode focal plane array (GmAPD-FPA). This technique is implemented by pointing laser pulses on a target of interest and observing its scattered photon distribution on a GmAPD-FPA. Measuring the standard deviation of the photon distribution on a GmAPD-FPA enables the best focus condition to be found. The feasibility of this technique is demonstrated experimentally by employing a 1×8 pixel GmAPD-FPA. It is shown that the spatial resolution improves when the GmAPD-FPA is located in the best focus position found by the autofocus technique.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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