High-speed vision with a 3D-stacked SPAD image sensor

Istvan Gyongy*, Germán Mora Martín, Alex Turpin, Alice Ruget, Abderrahim Halimi, Robert Henderson, Jonathan Leach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)
1094 Downloads (Pure)


3D sensing devices are becoming increasingly prevalent in robotics, self-driving cars, human-computer interfaces, as well as consumer electronics. Recent years have seen single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) emerging as one of the key technologies underlying 3D time-of-flight sensors, with the capability to capture accurate 3D depth maps in a range of environmental conditions, and with low computational overhead. In particular, direct ToF SPADs (dToF), which measure the return time of back-scattered laser pulses, form the backbone of many automotive LIDAR systems. We here consider an advanced direct ToF SPAD imager with a 3D-stacked structure, integrating significant photon processing. The device generates photon timing histograms in-pixel, resulting in a maximum throughput of 100's of giga photons per second. This advance enables 3D frames to be captured at rates in excess of 1000 frames per second, even under high ambient light levels. By exploiting the re-configurable nature of the sensor, higher resolution intensity (photon counting) data may be obtained in alternate frames, and depth upscaled accordingly. We present a compact SPAD camera based on the sensor, enabling high-speed object detection and classification in both indoor and outdoor environments. The results suggest a significant potential in applications requiring fast situational awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques XV
EditorsMark A. Itzler, Joshua C. Bienfang, K. Alex McIntosh
ISBN (Electronic)9781510642805
ISBN (Print)9781510642799
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021
EventSPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 12 Apr 202116 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • 3D time-of-flight imaging
  • 3D-stacked image sensor
  • High-speed imaging
  • Object detection
  • SPAD image sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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