There are many applications that can be made with time-of-flight circuitry, particularly in the areas of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and 3D imaging. These include driving and detecting sensors, which involve very fast and high-speed processes, as well as wideband circuit design techniques.
- Transmitter has:
- High-speed gate driver, while operating with an external transistor
- Uses a pre-heat function for faster pulse shapes
- Power monitor function
- SPI interface
- Receiver has:
- Very low noise wideband trans-impedance amplifier or TIA
- Fast response pulse detector with LVDS outputs
- Separate transmitter and receiver functions that come in quad-flat no-leads (QFN) packages of 24 pins, 3mm x 3mm
- Both ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) are designed in a 180nm SiGe process
Applications for Time-of-Flight Chipset Based On LIDAR
- Consumer – interactive displays in AI systems
- Logistics – parcel loading
- Retail – queue management and customer behavioral tracking
- Robotics – object detection and avoidance
- Security – perimeter fencing and intrusion detection
- Transportation – collision avoidance and autonomous driving
The development of a time-of-flight ASIC chipset was intended for a customer with new products in the LIDAR and 3D imaging application spaces. The function of this chipset is to split the transmitter and receiver ASICs, which will allow flexibility where multiple receivers are utilized for every transmitter.
However, the split function has the added benefit of keeping huge, fast transmit signals away from the very sensitive receiver circuits. Customers then can use off-the-shelf discrete components and ICs to build a breadboard of the transceiver function.
As a result, customers can develop initial target specifications of the transceiver from the input-output standpoint. This is the advantage of modifying the specific circuit architectures to best use a fully-integrated approach.
How well do Time-of-Flight Chipset ASICs Work
Based on an initial investigation, the chip was checked if it could meet the overall requirements. The chipset used as a 180nm SiGe BiCMOS process, which offered a good compromise between the cost and performance for both wafers and masks. The detailed design was finally made after the chipset specifications were determined.
Significance of Time of Flight ASIC Chipsets
- Used in ToF cameras, a range imaging system used to resolve distance on the basis of a known speed of light. This allows the measurement of time of fight traveled by a light signal between the subject and the camera.
- Used in long-range cameras that cover from a range of a few centimeters up to several kilometers with lower spatial resolution in comparison to 2D cameras.
- A ToF camera has an image sensor that measures the time it would take for light to travel from the unit of illumination, the optics gathering the light and projecting it into the image sensor, the illumination unit, the driver electronics, and the interface or computation.
- Range-gated imagers have also been developed for ToF cameras. These have a built-in shutter that activates an open-close function when light pulses are sent out.
For more information on Time-of-Flight ASIC chipsets, contact Linear MicroSystems today for a proposal on your next project.
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