Silicon photomultiplier array targets automotive lidar

Silicon photomultiplier array targets automotive lidar

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN is a monolithic 1×12 array of SiPM pixels based on the company’s RDM process, which enables high sensitivity to near-infrared (NIR) light to achieve 18.5% photon detection efficiency (PDE) at 905 nanometers (nm). The high internal gain of the SiPM allows sensitivity down to the single-photon level, a feature that, in combination with the high PDE, enables the detection of very faint return signals. This results in the ability to range to greater distances even with low reflective targets. 

According to ON Semiconductor, the SiPM technology has gained momentum in recent years and has become the sensor of choice for broad-market depth sensing applications due to its specific feature set. SiPMs have the ability to deliver the highest signal-to-noise performance for long distance ranging in bright sunlight conditions. Additional benefits including lower supply biases and lower sensitivity to temperature changes make it an ideal upgrade for systems that use legacy avalanche photodiodes (APDs). SiPMs are produced in a high-volume CMOS process, allowing for the lowest detector cost and therefore enabling broad-market lidar solutions. 

Using laser light to measure the distance of an object has spanned the fields of automotive, consumer and industrial applications. In automotive, lidar can be employed to improve safety and driver assistance systems (ADAS), aiding features such as lane keeping and traffic jam assist by complementing and providing redundancy with other sensing modalities. lidar is becoming commonly used for fully autonomous driving use cases, such as robotic transportation, to safely navigate the environment in real time. Benefiting from the high PDE of ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN, lidar systems supporting these functions achieve a range over 300 meters in distance. More distance gives more time for the vehicle to respond to unexpected obstacles.

The ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN is AEC-Q102 qualified and developed in accordance with IATF 16949. For more information regarding our lidar solutions, please contact a local sales office.

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