Time-stretch LiDAR as a spectrally scanned time-of-flight ranging camera

Yunshan Jiang*, Sebastian Karpf, Bahram Jalali

*Corresponding author for this work
17 Citations (Scopus)


The need for imaging and ranging in robotics has brought LiDAR (light detection and ranging) to the forefront of consumer technology1. Among various approaches, time-of-flight ranging sets the benchmark for robust operation due to illumination with high-energy pulses and direct detection. Conversely, spectrally scanning using tunable lasers is an inertia-free solution that offers fast scanning. The realization of a time-of-flight LiDAR with fast spectral scanning has not been possible because of difficulty in creating pulsed tunable sources. We demonstrate a wavelength-scanned time-of-flight LiDAR that realizes single-shot imaging and inertia-free scanning in one dimension with a rate of 1 MHz using a single laser and a single detector. We report two implementations of this concept, the first with a gain-switched supercontinuum source at 1,550 nm, and the second with a frequency-domain mode-locked laser at 1,060 nm. We show foveated imaging with both approaches as a potential solution to the big data predicament in three-dimensional imaging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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