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Sub-picosecond photon-efficient 3D imaging using single-photon sensors

Nature Scientific Reports, December 2018

Felix Heide, Steven Diamond,
David B. Lindell, Gordon Wetzstein

Active 3D imaging systems have broad applications across disciplines, including biological imaging, remote sensing and robotics. Applications in these domains require fast acquisition times, high timing accuracy, and high detection sensitivity. Single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) have emerged as one of the most promising detector technologies to achieve all of these requirements. However, these detectors are plagued by measurement distortions known as pileup, which fundamentally limit their precision. In this work, we develop a probabilistic image formation model that accurately models pileup. We devise inverse methods to efficiently and robustly estimate scene depth and reflectance from recorded photon counts using the proposed model along with statistical priors. With this algorithm, we not only demonstrate improvements to timing accuracy by more than an order of magnitude compared to the state-of-the-art, but our approach is also the first to facilitate sub-picosecond-accurate, photon-efficient 3D imaging in practical scenarios where widely-varying photon counts are observed.

Felix Heide, Steven Diamond, David B. Lindell, and Gordon Wetzstein.
"Sub-picosecond photon-efficient 3D imaging using single-photon sensors."
Nature Scientific Reports 8, Article 17726, December 2018.


   author = "Felix Heide and Steven Diamond and David B. Lindell and Gordon Wetzstein",
   title = "Sub-picosecond photon-efficient {3D} imaging using single-photon sensors",
   journal = "Nature Scientific Reports",
   year = "2018",
   month = dec,
   volume = "8",
   articleno = "17726"