New LIDAR Receiver Architecture Boosts Signal Quality at Lower Cost

Technology #33950

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(a) Schematic of few-mode Erbium-doped fiber amplifier, CL: collimating lens, FMF: few-mode (FM) fiber, EDF: Erbium-doped fiber, MO: microscope objective, DM: dichroic mirror. (b) Erbium-doped few-mode fiber cross-section.
Rachel Sampson
Guifang Li, Ph.D.
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Huiyuan Li
Robert Stegeman
He Wen
Peng Zhang, Ph.D.
Yuanhang Zhang
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John Miner
Assistant Director 407.882.1136
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Provisional Patent Application Filed
Improving the Sensitivity of LiDARs Using Few-Mode Pre-amplified Receivers
Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science OSA Technical Digest , Optical Society of America, 2018, conference paper FW7A.2

Few-Mode Preamplified Receiver Design Improves LIDAR Performance in Autonomous Vehicles

UCF researchers have developed an innovation in remote sensing technology that may help speed the large-scale deployment of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) in autonomous vehicles. With its novel few-mode (FM) preamplified receiver architecture, the new UCF LIDAR system has demonstrated a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that is almost an order of magnitude higher than that of other systems. Besides providing much improved sensitivity and signal quality, the new eye-safe LIDAR system also allows for lower transmitter (laser) power, and thus, reduced costs.

Technical Details

The invention is a LIDAR system that attaches to the roof or front of a motor vehicle. The system includes a transmitter with a modulated infrared light source that emits an optical signal toward an object. It also includes a receiver that collects light reflected from the object. The receiver consists of a few-mode pre-amplifier, such as an Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) or a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA), which supports two or more spatial modes. The system outputs the amplified signal to a photodetector with a p-intrinsic-n (PIN) photodiode and a processing unit.


  • Provides better signal quality at longer distances than existing LIDAR systems
  • Enables the use of lower power, less costly lasers as transmitters
  • Uses PIN detectors, which are two to three times cheaper than current avalanche photodiode (APD) detector technology


Receiver for 1550 nm LIDAR systems

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