Single-Pixel Three-Dimensional Laser Imager Using a Multi-wavelength Transmitter and Receiver

Technology #13917

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FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a monostatic three-dimensional (3D) imaging system according to embodiments of the present invention.FIG. 2A is a diagram illustrating location-to-signal mapping according to embodiments of the present invention.FIG. 2B is a diagram illustrating pulse re-ordering for resolving range ambiguity according to embodiments of the present inventionFIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a frequency-to-space converter based on an arrayed-waveguide grating suitable for use with the three-dimensional imaging system of FIG. 1.FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of a frequency-to-space converter based on a grating and a virtual image phased array suitable for use with the three-dimensional imaging system of FIG. 1
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Inventors
Don Boroson
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Bryan Robinson
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Marius Albota
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT
Managed By
Jack Turner
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Single-transducer, three-dimensional laser imaging system and method

US Patent 8,159,680

Three-dimensional imaging using a single transducer.

Applications

2D and 3D imaging applications.

Problem Addressed

To achieve higher resolution and improved capabilities such as facial recognition, there is a need for a 3D imaging system that operates with low timing jitter and good sensitivity.

Technology

The invention is a three-dimensional (3D) imaging system that uses a single transducer to detect pulses at different center frequencies to different spatial locations. A source generates a series of pulses with distinct center frequency. The pulses are coupled to a frequency-to-space converter which maps each pulse to a different spatial location based on the center frequency of the pulse. An aperture receives pulses scattered or reflected from objects at the spatial locations and couples the received pulses to a transducer, which converts the received pulses into electrical signals that represent a 3D image corresponding to the spatial locations. Suitable transducers include, but are not limited to, the transducers in Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes, photomultiplier tubes, transition edge sensors, and superconducting nanowires.

Advantages

  • Uses single transducer so there is no need for arrays of detectors.
  • Has lower timing jitter than current 3D imaging systems¬†
  • Has better sensitivity¬† than current 3D imaging systems