Automotive Qualified SiPM Array For LiDAR Applications

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Enables detection of the faintest return signals, allowing to range greater distances even with low reflective targets

Extending LiDAR sensor capabilities to meet growing demands in LiDAR applications for the automotive industry and beyond is the ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN, having a monolithic 1×12 array of SiPM pixels based on the RDM process, which enables high sensitivity to near-infrared (NIR) light to achieve 18.5% photon detection efficiency (PDE) at 905 nanometres (nm). The high internal gain of the SiPM allows sensitivity down to the single-photon level, a feature that in combination with the high PDE, enables the detection of the faintest return signals. This results in the ability to range to greater distances even with low reflective targets.

SiPM technology has gained momentum in recent years and has become the sensor of choice for broad-market depth-sensing applications due to its unique feature set. SiPMs can deliver the highest signal-to-noise performance for long-distance ranging in bright sunlight conditions. Additional benefits including lower supply biases and lower sensitivity to temperature changes make it an ideal upgrade for systems that use legacy avalanche photodiodes (APDs). SiPMs are produced in a high-volume CMOS process, allowing for the lowest detector cost and therefore enabling broad-market LiDAR solutions.

Using laser light to measure the distance of an object has spanned the fields of automotive, consumer and industrial applications. In automotive, LiDAR can be employed to improve safety and driver assistance systems (ADAS), aiding features such as lane-keeping and traffic jam assist by complementing and providing redundancy with other sensing modalities. LiDAR is becoming commonly used for fully autonomous driving use cases, such as robotic transportation, to safely navigate the environment in real-time. Benefiting from the high PDE of ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN, LiDAR systems supporting these functions have been proven to range over 300 metres in distance. More distance gives more time for the vehicle to respond to unexpected obstacles.

“The high-resolution depth data provided by LiDAR enables instantaneous and accurate object identification in challenging low light conditions. As the first automotive-qualified SiPM, the ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN will enable long-range, cost-effective LiDAR solutions for the next level of safety and autonomy,” commented Wade Appelman, senior director, Automotive Sensing Division at ON Semiconductor. “We are continuously enhancing our sensor portfolio by offering diverse and complementary sensing modalities that pave the way to higher levels of ADAS and autonomous driving.”

“At Yole Développement (Yole), we see LiDAR as a critical component on the route to full autonomy in automotive, with the functionality required to reach level 2+ and above. Producing sensors that pass automotive qualification, and with a sufficient level of performance, will be a key enabler to the mass adoption of LiDAR for automotive applications, which, based on current trends, is expected to show a +144% CAGR between 2019 and 2025,” explained Pierrick Boulay, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole.

The ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN is AEC-Q102 qualified and developed following IATF 16949. It is obtainable from ON Semiconductor.


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