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An Avalanche of APD Innovations

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As the demands on lidar continue to increase, the manufacturers of avalanche photodiodes (APDs) continue to respond.


When autonomous vehicles hit the streets, they navigate with the help of avalanche photo­diodes, or APDs. These semiconductor photodetectors capture returning laser pulses as part of lidar systems, and this APD-derived data determines the distance to other vehicles, to objects, and to people — information critical for safe driving. Lidar is a fast-growing APD application, and, according to Anand Pandy, applications engineering leader at Excel­itas Technologies Corp. of Waltham,

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Published: June 2019
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape and characteristics of objects and surfaces. Lidar systems typically consist of a laser scanner, a GPS receiver, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), all integrated into a single system. Here is how lidar works: Laser emission: A laser emits laser pulses, often in the form of rapid and repetitive laser...
avalanche photodiodesAPDslidarsilicon APDssilicon photomultiplierSIPMSsingle-photon avalanche diodesSPADs2D arraysphotodetectorsapplication-specific integrated circuitsASICsFeatures

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