A review of single-photon avalanche diode Time-of-flight imaging sensor arrays

Francois Piron, Daniel Morrison, Mehmet R. Yuce, Jean-Michel Redoute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Time-of-flight (ToF) sensors using light pulses or continuous waves allow accurate distance measurements. Three-dimensional imagers can be based on an array of timing or time-gated integration pixels. Single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) have been increasingly chosen as the pixel’s photodetector device to develop fast, long-range ToF sensors. Solid-state ToF cameras are replacing other alternatives, showing attractive characteristics and bringing up new potential applications. This paper presents the technical evolution of SPAD ToF 3D imaging sensors, and provides insight into their development over the last few decades. Starting with the first SPAD imagers reported in the early 2000’s, various direct and indirect arrays up to present day state-of-the-art prototypes are referenced. The existing methods, options and possible implementations are described, addressing their advantages and drawbacks, and showing the progress yet to be made. The performance of the different presented approaches are given and compared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12654-12666
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • 3D Imaging
  • 3DIC
  • CMOS imagers
  • Depth Image Sensors
  • Direct Time-of-Flight (dToF)
  • Indirect Time-of-Flight (iToF)
  • Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
  • Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD)
  • Time-of-flight (ToF)

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