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Wednesday 15 November - 10.00am: Paper presentation "Ultra-Compact Short-Pulse Laser Diode Illuminators for Portable Gated Active Imaging Systems"

Quantel Laser will present the paper "Ultra-Compact Short-Pulse Laser Diode Illuminators for Portable Gated Active Imaging Systems" during the 6th Workshop on Active Imaging, France.

06 October 2017 Back



Céline Canal, Arnaud Laugustin, Andreas Kohl and Olivier Rabot (Quantel Laser Diodes)


Recent research efforts on detector arrays in the NIR and SWIR wavelength range have led to compact and robust 3D flash lidar architectures. This technique can provide real-time 3D mapping of an area in various weather conditions for surveillance, but also for detection of moving objects in guidance of unmanned vehicles. Based on time-of-flight measurement, such imaging systems include a pulsed laser illumination in a large solid angle and a matrix of detectors, highly sensitive to photons reflected by encountered objects. Advanced signal processing then enables reconstruction of the scene. Today main limitation for compact, portable systems is the pulsed laser source. If considering systems emitting at 1.55 µm, the preferred laser sources for their ability to provide a high peak power and pulses shorter than 50 ns are optical parametric oscillators which are expensive and bulky systems due to the Q-switched Nd:YAG laser required for pumping. An alternative could be laser diodes since they have a better efficiency and their beam profile is compatible with active imaging by flash illumination. Up to now their introduction in such systems was limited as they could not provide high enough energies in pulses shorter than 100 ns.

This paper will present recent advances in pulsed laser diodes made by Quantel Laser, France, that enabled pulses in the range of 10 to 100 ns with pulse energies of several mJ. An efficiency of about 30 % has been recorded with diode illuminators emitting in the NIR range (800-1000 nm), which makes them ideal candidates for compact, portable systems. This laser sources can operate at 1.55 µm even if efficiency is lower at this wavelength. Emission of these laser diodes is considered to be eye safe when taking into account the output beam area and its high divergence through the macro-lens used for adjustment of illumination to the system’s field of view. Such laser diode sources can be as small as 4x5 cm2, including both the laser diode and driver. Their compactness and their high efficiency make them ideal for integration in confined environments in which power consumption is a priority.

An overview of architecture of these state-of-the-art pulsed laser diode sources will be given, together with their performances. Suitability of such a laser source in 3D active imaging will be discussed.

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