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Breakthrough in LiDAR Photon Noise Reduction Enhances Performance in Medical Imaging

photon noise reduction

3D Scanning, LiDAR, and Sunlight Interference

3D imaging is one of the newest imaging trends. But, due to their design, 3D scanning systems have a vulnerability -- sunlight. When outdoors, sunlight often overpowers a 3D scanning system’s projector. Researchers had to come up with a new technique to create images without interference.

LiDAR scanning is a form of 3D scanning where laser light is transmitted and reflected off objects. It’s often used in outdoor settings and is used to scan large landscapes or buildings. But it’s also affected by sunlight. Not only does direct sunlight interfere with the scans, but many objects in the field of view reflect sunlight into the camera’s sensors.

Quantum Parametric Mode Sorting

To overcome sunlight interference, the Steven’s Institute came up with a solution called quantum parametric mode sorting (QPMS) that uses single-photon noise reduction. Researchers at the institute modified the source laser’s outbound photons to have specific quantum properties. Even when reflected, the photons keep these properties.

The sensor can filter out photos without those properties, thus making LiDAR with QPMS virtually noise-free. Researchers claim that the images are 40,000 times crisper than current 3D imaging technology.

Applications for QPMS

Although one popular car manufacturer in the tech world has denounced LiDAR for its use in self-driving cars, this new technology may force them to rethink their stance. And that’s not the only application for QPMS. Satellite mapping systems, deep-space communication, and medical image of the retina are just some ways that LiDAR with QPMS could be used.

The range of use for QPMS is astonishing. QPMS noise reduction could allow the use of LiDAR to create accurate, detailed 3D images at a 30km range. Since noise is eliminated without having to turn up the dial on the light, very faint laser beams can be used to avoid damaging the human retina.

Learn more about advancements in medical imaging in our Embedded Vision Enhancements for Ophthalmology blog post.

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