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.
Categories
Researchers
Rachel Sampson
Guifang Li, Ph.D.
External Link (www.creol.ucf.edu)
Huiyuan Li
Robert Stegeman
He Wen
Peng Zhang, Ph.D.
Yuanhang Zhang
Managed By
John Miner
Assistant Director 407.882.1136
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Publications
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.

Benefits

  • 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

Applications

Receiver for 1550 nm LIDAR systems