Submerged single-photon LiDAR imaging sensor used for real-time 3D scene reconstruction in scattering underwater environments

Aurora Maccarone, Kristofer Drummond, Aongus McCarthy, Ulrich Steinlehner, Julian Tachella, Diego Aguirre Garcia, Pawlikowska Agata, Robert Lamb, Robert K. Henderson, Steve McLaughlin, Yoann Altmann, Gerald S. Buller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We demonstrate a fully submerged underwater LiDAR transceiver system based on single photon detection technologies. The LiDAR imaging system used a silicon single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detector array fabricated in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology to measure photon time-of-flight using picosecond resolution time correlated single photon counting. The SPAD detector array was directly interfaced to a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for real time image reconstruction capability. Experiments were performed with the transceiver system and target objects immersed in a water tank at a depth of 1.8 meters, with the targets placed at a stand off distance of approximately 3 meters. The transceiver used a picosecond pulsed laser source with a central wavelength of 532 nm, operating at a repetition rate of 20 MHz and average optical power of up to 52 mW, dependent on scattering conditions. Three dimensional imaging was demonstrated by implementing a joint surface detection and distance estimation algorithm for real time processing and visualization, which achieved images of stationary targets with up to 7.5 attenuation lengths between the transceiver and the target. The average processing time per frame was approximately 33 ms, allowing real-time three-dimensional video demonstrations of moving targets at ten frames per second at up to 5.5 attenuation lengths between transceiver and target.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16690-16708
Number of pages19
JournalOptics Express
Issue number10
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2023


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