Hamamatsu Photonics, that has been developing and producing Lidar components for over twenty years, proposes some new solutions that satisfy important needs: reaching increasingly longer distance, getting faster and miniaturized devices
The recent technological innovations, introduced in the remote sensing devices, gave a boost to create advanced measurement systems in the industrial field and, mostly, in the automotive sector. Lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) is recognized as one of the best performing distance measuring method from spatial resolution and time response point of view. Thanks to these characteristics, it is possible to build point by point a dynamic 3D map of the surrounding scene as required by applications such as vehicle driving assistance (ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and in automated guided vehicles (AGV – Automated Guided Vehicle). The Lidar operation is based on the measurement of the time t necessary for a laser pulse to travel the round trip between the source and the selected target (Time Of Flight or TOF).
Measuring up to over 250 metres
Hamamatsu Photonics has been developing and producing Lidar components for over twenty years. Its products lineup includes light sources as pulsed laser diodes (PLD) and a wide range of high sensitive photosensors that can be employed for short, medium and long distance using either rotational, scanning or Flash techniques. Silicon PIN photodiodes, Silicon APD, Si PM and InGaAs APD can be mentioned and highlighted among the range of photosensors for Lidar. Each of them would be available either as single element or as array or as a hybrid component, including both photosensitive area and Front End electronics in a single package. The need to reach increasingly longer distance, to get faster and miniaturized devices led the focus of Hamamatsu’s efforts to the development of innovative and leading edge solutions.
The integration of these components allows realizing instruments capable of measuring distances from a few meters to over 250 m with few centimeters spatial resolution.
From hybrid sensors to pulsed laser diode
Among these products, it is worth to point out some of the most recent ones: S13720 MPPC (Multi Pixel Photon Counting) series provide an improved spectral response in NIR, a gain of 106 and response time of the order of hundreds of picoseconds; hybrid sensors with a single or multi channels configuration, that, thanks to the integration of both the active part and the front-end in the same package, have an improved frequency response and noise figure; InGaAs APD G14858-0020AA with low dark noise (20 nA), low capacity and high speed (0.9 GHz); L11854 PLD (Pulsed Laser Diode) series with 905 nm emission and which can reach peak powers higher than 100 W with a duty ratio of 0.1%; MEMS Micromirror, available in both 1D and 2D versions, which can steer the laser beam in different positions very quickly (at KHz frequencies) and with around 30° deflection.