Depth of Vision

Published: 7 November 2018

HORIBA Scientific develops electronic support for QuantIC's research into real-time computational 3D imaging

HORIBA Scientific has developed for QuantIC, the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging, Time-Correlated Single-Photon Counting (TCSPC), electronics to support its
research into real-time computational 3D imaging and Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR).

This research has the potential to result in faster, better quality and lower-cost 3D imaging for applications that include autonomous vehicles, machine learning, security and surveying.

The TCSPC electronics developed for QuantIC is a modified version of HORIBA Scientific’s DeltaHub, which is typically used for single-photon Time of Flight (TOF) and counting data acquisition applications in scientific research programmes. For QuantIC’s programme, which is based at the University of Glasgow, the Field Programmable Gate Array within a standard DeltaHub was reprogrammed to process 20,000 TOF histograms per second, from which 3D images are derived.‌‌‌‌LIDAR graphic 650

Professor Miles Padgett, QuantIC’s Principal Investigator and Vice-Principal for Research at the University of Glasgow, said: "The high data acquisition rate of the HORIBA Scientific electronics is the essential component in a single-pixel camera demonstrator we built earlier this year and which, at a range of up 10m, has already produced a 3D depth resolution with millimetric precision. This is an important breakthrough in the development of photon-counting LiDAR.”

Unlike a conventional camera, where each pixel in the image is measured by a corresponding pixel in the detector, a single-pixel camera uses only one pixel to measure the whole image. The addition of HORIBA Scientific technology turns a 2D camera system into a 3D one, thanks to the high accuracy of the TOF measurements.

Professor Padgett added: “When a scene is illuminated using a short-pulsed light source (laser), the detector needs to detect only a few back-scattered photons to allow accurate 3D images to be obtained, which can be useful for long-range imaging as well as imaging when light is scattered – when there is fog, for instance.”

Also core to the 3D single-pixel camera approach is a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) for the provision of time-varying structured illumination (of the scene to be ‘viewed’), optics for the expansion and steering of the pulsed laser, and a picosecond photomultipler (PMT) module (also supplied by HORIBA Scientific) for the collection and detection of the back-scattered photons.

QuantIC is now looking to explore if alternative sampling strategies can be employed to further improve the frame rate and is also interested in collaborating further with industry to carry out demonstrations in other scenarios. The prototype demonstrator will be exhibited to industry for the first time at the UK Quantum Technologies Showcase taking place in London on 9 November, 2018.


The HORIBA Group of worldwide companies provides an extensive array of instruments and systems for applications ranging from automotive R&D, process and environmental monitoring, in-vitro medical diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing and metrology to a broad range of scientific R&D and QC measurements. Proven quality and trustworthy performance have established widespread confidence in the HORIBA brand.

Net sales 195,399 million Japanese yen (Consolidated, Fiscal 2016). Paid in capital 12,011 million Japanese yen (as of December 31, 2017). Business domain manufacture and sale of analytical measurement equipment. Fiscal closing date December 31, annually. Annual meeting of shareholders held in March. Number of employees 7,399 (Consolidated, as of December 31, 2017). 

About QuantIC

QuantIC is the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging and led by the University of Glasgow in partnership with the Universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Heriot Watt, Bristol, Warwick and Oxford. It is one of four quantum technology hubs supported by the UK government’s National Quantum Technologies Programme to ensure the successful transition of quantum technologies from laboratory to industry. The programme aims to create a coherent government, industry and academic quantum technology community that gives the UK a world-leading position in the emerging multi-billion pound new quantum technology markets. The programme is delivered by EPSRC, Innovate UK, BEIS, NPL, GCHQ, Dstl and the KTN.



First published: 7 November 2018