Mode selective up-conversion detection for LIDAR applications

Opt Express. 2018 Jun 11;26(12):15914-15923. doi: 10.1364/OE.26.015914.

Abstract

We study mode selective up-conversion detection as a viable approach to improving signal-to-noise and ranging resolution in LIDAR applications. It involves pumping a nonlinear waveguide at the edge of phase matching with picosecond pulses, so that only the backscattered signal photons in a single or few desirable time-frequency modes are efficiently up-converted while the broadband background noise in all other modes is rejected. We demonstrate a 41-dB increase in the signal-to-noise ratio for single-photon counting compared to that of direct detection using a commercial InGaAs single-photon detector, while achieving sub-millimeter ranging resolution with few detected photons. The proposed technique implies new LIDAR capabilities for ranging and imaging.