In recent years, time-correlated single-photon counting techniques have been applied to time-of-flight measurements for long-distance range-finding and depth imaging. Depth imaging has been performed by obtaining timing information from an individual single-photon detector and scanning the optical field to obtain a full depth image. Typically, the measurement is made by dwelling on each individual depth pixel for a pre-defined integration time and completing the data acquisition for that pixel before steering the beam to the adjacent spatial position. We present a novel photon-counting data acquisition mode where the time-of-flight histograms for each depth pixel are gradually populated. The system repeatedly scans the same spatial frame with short per-pixel dwell times, and sufficient photon statistics are built up over many frames by cumulating photon events from all acquired frames. The technique is used to compare the depth imaging performance of two single-photon avalanche diode detectors: a novel, resonant-cavity enhanced shallow-junction device; and a commercially available thick-junction device. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
- depth profiling
- photon statistics
- three-dimensional imaging
- time-correlated single-photon counting