This is a high-sensitivity range image sensor that visualizes small obstacles in the distance.
1. High-resolution and high-sensitivity TOF image sensor that uses APD pixels
Conventional image sensors convert a single photon that has entered their pixels to only a single electron and therefore have an issue of being susceptible to noise when the signal light is as weak as approximately a single-photon level. The newly developed sensor forms very fine pixels of 11.2 μm pitch by using the APD pixel technology that laminates the photoelectric conversion region, multiplication region, and signal storage as constituents, thereby achieving a high resolution of 250,000 pixels and high sensitivity signals amplified by 10,000 times.
Fig. 1 Comparison diagrams of imaging with and without signal multiplication in pixels
2. Acquisition of long-range 3D range images using TOF
Common TOF ranging calculates distances by measuring the time-of-flight of light emitted from a light source to hit an object, reflect, and return. Panasonic has developed a unique short-pulse TOF method that drives a high-speed 10-nanosecond shutter built in the sensor in sync with 10-nanosecond minimum short-pulse light. This newly developed technology enables the collective acquisition of a 3D range image by compositing multiple ranges from short to long.
Fig. 2 Explanatory diagram of image acquisition by the APD-TOF sensor for each range using short pulses
Inquiries about Long-range Imaging-LiDAR
Engineering Division , Automotive & Industrial Systems Company
e-mail : APD_CIS@gg.jp.panasonic.com
- Panasonic Press Release (Jun, 2018)
Panasonic Develops Long-range TOF Image Sensor