Underwater depth imaging using time-correlated single photon counting

Mark A. Itzler (Editor), Joe C. Campbell (Editor), Aurora Maccarone*, Aongus Mccarthy, Ximing Ren, Ryan E. Warburton, Andrew Michael Wallace, James Moffat, Yvan Petillot, Gerald S. Buller

*Corresponding author for this work

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the potential of a depth imaging system for underwater environments. This system is based on the timeof- flight approach and the time correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) technique. We report laboratory-based measurements and explore the potential of achieving sub-centimeter xyz resolution at 10’s meters stand-off distances. Initial laboratory-based experiments demonstrate depth imaging performed over distances of up to 1.8 meters and under a variety of scattering conditions. The system comprised a monostatic transceiver unit, a fiber-coupled supercontinuum laser with a wavelength tunable acousto-optic filter, and a fiber-coupled individual silicon single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD). The scanning in xy was performed using a pair of galvonometer mirrors directing both illumination and scattered returns via a coaxial optical configuration. Target objects were placed in a 110 liter capacity tank and depth images were acquired through approximately 1.7 meters of water containing different concentrations of scattering agent. Depth images were acquired in clear and highly scattering water using per-pixel acquisition times in the range 0.5-100 ms at average optical powers in the range 0.8 nW to 120 μW. Based on the laboratory measurements, estimations of potential performance, including maximum range possible, were performed with a model based on the LIDAR equation. These predictions will be presented for different levels of scattering agent concentration, optical powers, wavelengths and comparisons made with naturally occurring environments. The experimental and theoretical results indicate that the TCSPC technique has potential for highresolution underwater depth profile measurements. © (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IX
ISBN (Print)9781628416084
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2015
EventAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IX - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 22 Apr 201523 Apr 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques IX
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • LiDAR
  • Turbid media
  • Underwater imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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