Distance-resolving raman radar based on a time-correlated CMOS single-photon avalanche diode line sensor

Remote Raman spectroscopy is widely used to detect minerals, explosives and air pollution, for example. One of its main problems, however, is background radiation that is caused by ambient light and sample fluorescence. We present here, to the best of our knowledge, the first time a distance-resolving Raman radar device that is based on an adjustable, time-correlated complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) single-photon avalanche diode line sensor which can measure the location of the target sample simultaneously with the normal stand-off spectrometer operation and suppress the background radiation dramatically by means of sub-nanosecond time gating. A distance resolution of 3.75 cm could be verified simultaneously during normal spectrometer operation and Raman spectra of titanium dioxide were distinguished by this system at distances of 250 cm and 100 cm with illumination intensities of the background of 250 lux and 7600 lux, respectively. In addition, the major Raman peaks of olive oil, which has a fluorescence-to-Raman signal ratio of 33 and a fluorescence lifetime of 2.5 ns, were distinguished at a distance of 30 cm with a 250 lux background illumination intensity. We believe that this kind of time-correlated CMOS single-photon avalanche diode sensor could pave the way for new compact distance-resolving Raman radars for application where distance information within a range of several metres is needed at the same time as a Raman spectrum.