Photon-Efficient Active Imaging

Conventional photography collects tens of thousands of photons at each camera pixel. However, that number of photons isn’t required to form accurate images.

Using time-correlated single-photon counting, our group and collaborators at MIT demonstrated that forming accurate depth and reflectivity images is possible using as little as one photon detection per scene pixel, increasing the photon efficiency of image formation by several orders of magnitude.

Such methods can enable long-distance range measurements, fast acquisition for real time systems like autonomous vehicles, or even low-dose measurements for biological applications.

We have continued to expand the capabilities of imaging with very few photons, including exploring scenes with multiple depths, increasing robustness to high ambient light levels, improving depth resolution for systems with coarse time quantization, and compensating for dead times in single-photon detectors.

Selected Publications

  1. Improving Lidar Depth Resolution With Dither
    • J. Rapp, R. M. A. Dawson, and V. K. Goyal, Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Image Processing (ICIP), October 2018.
    • DOI: 10.1109/ICIP.2018.8451528
      • Winner of Best Student Paper Award, 3rd Place
  2. A Few Photons Among Many: Unmixing Signal and Noise for Photon-Efficient Active Imaging
  3. Photon-Efficient Imaging with a Single-Photon Camera
    • D. Shin, F. Xu, D. Venkatraman, R. Lussana, F. Villa, F. Zappa, V. K. Goyal, F. N. C. Wong, and J. H. Shapiro, Nature Communications, vol. 7, art. no. 12046, 24 June 2016.
    • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12046
  4. Computational Multi-Depth Single-Photon Imaging
  5. Photon-Efficient Computational 3D and Reflectivity Imaging with Single-Photon Detectors
  6. First-Photon Imaging