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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.

HANK HOGAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

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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Photonics Spectra
Jul 2019
GLOSSARY
lidar
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
avalanche photodiodesAPDslidarsilicon APDssilicon photomultiplierSIPMSsingle-photon avalanche diodesSPADs2D arraysphotodetectorsapplication-specific integrated circuitsASICsFeatures

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