High-speed wide dynamic range linear mode time-of-flight receiver based on zero-crossing timing detection

We present an accurate laser radar receiver with a wide dynamic range intended for ranging applications based on an event-based approach, in which a receiver-time-to-digital converter is used to extract the timing information from the reflected echo. The receiver is based on LC resonance pulse shaping at the input so that the unipolar pulse detected by the avalanche photodiode is converted to a bipolar signal, and the first zero-crossing of this converted signal is marked as the only timing point. One important aspect of the proposed scheme is that it does not need any postcompensation or gain control for achieving a wide dynamic range. The receiver chip was fabricated in a 0.35-μm standard CMOS technology, and a laser radar platform was developed to verify the functionality of the proposed receiver channel. The measured accuracy of the receiver is ±3.5  cm within a dynamic range of more than 1:250,000 using 3-ns FWHM pulses when target materials with different reflectivities are used in the measurements. The single-shot precision of the receiver (σ value) is ∼5  cm for a minimum SNR of ∼10.