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Range imager performance comparison in homodyne and heterodyne operating modes

Range imaging cameras measure depth simultaneously for every pixel in a given field of view. In most implementations the basic operating principles are the same. A scene is illuminated with an intensity modulated light source and the reflected signal is sampled using a gain-modulated imager. Previously we presented a unique heterodyne range imaging system that employed a bulky and power hungry image intensifier as the high speed gain-modulation mechanism. In this paper we present a new range imager using an internally modulated image sensor that is designed to operate in heterodyne mode, but can also operate in homodyne mode. We discuss homodyne and heterodyne range imaging, and the merits of the various types of hardware used to implement these systems. Following this we describe in detail the hardware and firmware components of our new ranger. We experimentally compare the two operating modes and demonstrate that heterodyne operation is less sensitive to some of the limitations suffered in homodyne mode, resulting in better linearity and ranging precision characteristics. We conclude by showing various qualitative examples that demonstrate the system’s three-dimensional measurement performance.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Richard M. Conroy, Adrian A. Dorrington, Rainer Künnemeyer, and Michael J. Cree, "Range imager performance comparison in homodyne and heterodyne operating modes," Three-Dimensional Imaging Metrology, J. Angelo Beraldin, Geraldine S. Cheok, Michael McCarthy, Ulrich Neuschaefer-Rube, Editors, Proc. SPIE, 7239, 723905 (2009).
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