1 Mpixel single-photon camera achieves 24kframe/s

April 17, 2020 //By Julien Happich
Using 180nm CMOS image sensor technology, a team of researchers from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland has developed the first megapixel photon-counting camera, with unprecedented acquisition speeds.

Based on new-generation image sensor technology that uses single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs), the camera is reported to have a 3.8ns time gating (consider this as the shutter speed), enabling it to capture extremely fast motion or alternatively to increase dynamic range. The new sensor was proven to detect photons across its one million pixels at 24,000 frames per second, speeds ideally suited for LiDAR applications or 3D-imaging for augmented reality systems.

Based on single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) image
sensors, the megapixel photon-counting camera developed
by EPFL researchers can capture images in faint light at
unprecedented speeds. Credit: Arianna M. Charbon,
Kazuhiro Morimoto, Edoardo Charbon.

"Thanks to its high resolution and ability to measure depth, this new camera could make virtual reality more realistic and let you interact with augmented reality information in a more seamless manner," said Edoardo Charbon from the Advanced Quantum Architecture Laboratory (AQUALab) at EPFL. Charbon developed the idea for the new camera and is the founder and head of AQUALab, where the image sensor was designed.

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