Modeling False Alarm Rate and Related Characteristics of Lidar Avalanche Photodiode Photoreceivers

March 17, 2022

Download PDF Version

By Andrew S. Huntington, George M. Williams Jr., and Adam O. Lee

Allegro MicroSystems


An analysis is presented of the error introduced into estimates of avalanche photodiode (APD) lidar performance by assuming Gaussian distribution of the APD multiplication gain. The amplitude of current pulses emitted by an APD obeys the McIntyre distribution, the tails of which diverge from the Gaussian distribution having the same mean and variance. Because extinction of false alarms requires setting a discrimination threshold far into the tail of the output distribution of an analog photoreceiver, the threshold level required to achieve a specified false-alarm rate (FAR) using an APD-based photoreceiver is often not accurately predicted by the standard FAR model of Rice.[1] Characteristics of APD-based photoreceivers are calculated using the McIntyre distribution and are compared with characteristics calculated using the Gaussian approximation.

[1] S. O. Rice, “Mathematical analysis of random noise,” Bell Syst. Tech. J. 24(1), 46–156 (1945). 

This document is based on the following published work:

© The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.

Andrew S. Huntington, George M. Williams, and Adam O. Lee “Modeling false alarm rate and related characteristics of laser ranging and LIDAR avalanche photodiode photoreceivers,” Optical Engineering 57(7), 073106 (18 July 2018).

Received: 18 March 2018; Accepted: 5 June 2018; Published: 18 July 2018