Photonics Spectra

An Avalanche of APD Innovations

As the demands on LiDAR continue to increase, the manufacturers of avalanche photodiodes (APDs) continue to respond.

When autonomous vehicles hit the streets, they navigate with the help of avalanche photodiodes, or APDs. These semiconductor photodetectors capture returning laser pulses as part of LiDAR systems, and this APD-derived data determines the distance to other vehicles, to objects, and to people — information critical for safe driving.

Silicon APDs and APD Arrays for Autonomous Cars

LiDAR is a fast-growing APD application, and, according to Anand Pandy, applications engineering leader at Excelitas Technologies Corp. of Waltham, Mass., cost considerations and the performance demands of LiDAR will lead to changes in avalanche photodiodes. “We see the trend moving from single-element APDs to arrays,” he said.

MarketRReports projects the APD market will grow at a 3.7% compound annual rate over the next five years, thanks to LiDAR and other imaging and detection applications. These applications could benefit from wider and more varied spectral detection ranges, greater sensitivity, the advent of APD arrays, reductions in cost, and other improvements. So vendors are responding with innovations in materials and manufacturing.

Download the PDF below to read this article published in the July 2019 issue of Photonics Spectra to learn about the major advancements in APDs for LiDAR applications from a number of industry experts, including Excelitas' Anand Pandy.