edited by P. A. Besse,
J. Brugger,
M. Gijs,
R. S. Popovic,
Ph. Renaud

Vol. 25:

Cristiano Niclass

Single-Photon Image Sensors in CMOS:
Picosecond Resolution for
Three-Dimensional Imaging.

2008. VIII, 251 p.; 64,00.
ISBN-10: 3-86628-220-6

ISBN-13: 978-3-86628-220-9


This book presents a new concept for imaging and, in particular, for 3D imaging, based on single-photon detection. In this approach, single-photon detection is performed by a device known as single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD). Large arrays of SPADs were demonstrated for the first time in this investigation and time resolutions consistently in the picosecond range were achieved. It has thus become feasible to design solid-state 3D imagers with millimeter depth perception based on the time-of-flight principle.

Initially, large arrays of SPAD devices and associated circuitry have been investigated in a 0.8m CMOS technology. Subsequently, a technology migration of SPADs towards deep-submicron CMOS has been successfully achieved. For the first time, SPADs in 0.35m and 0.13m CMOS technologies were designed and characterized. With the aim of enabling high-performance system-on-a-chip implementations using single-photon detectors, appropriate front-end and ancillary circuits utilized in the detection, measurement, and storage of time-of-flight evaluations have been introduced.

3D image sensors based on a pulsed detection technique known as time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) are investigated. Furthermore, in order to diversify range imaging schemes based on single-photon detectors to operate with continuously modulated optical signals, a detection technique called single-photon synchronous detection (SPSD) has been introduced.


About the Author:


Cristiano Niclass received the M. Sc. degree in microtechnology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, in 2003. After his graduation, he worked as a part-time R&D engineer until May 2006, for Ingenico (Suisse) SA. In May 2003, he joined the Processor Architecture Laboratory of EPFL, where he worked toward the Ph.D. degree. At EPFL, he has investigated the design, implementation, and characterization of fully integrated image sensors in CMOS using single-photon avalanche diodes. He has also been involved in the design of high-speed and high-resolution data converters implemented in conventional technologies. In 2005, he has spent two months at the Information System Laboratory of Stanford University, where he has studied conventional image sensors in CMOS. In 2008, he obtained his Ph.D. degree from EPFL for his work on single-photon image sensors in CMOS. Dr. Niclass has authored and co-authored nearly 30 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications. He is also the inventor and co-inventor in seven patent applications.


Keywords: Solid-state 3D imaging, 3D image sensor, 3D camera, flash camera, time-of-flight, rangefinder, range imaging, depth sensor, single-photon detector, avalanche photodiode, SPAD, GAPD, APD, TCSPC, SPSD.




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