Signal processing for enhanced single-photon imaging

Single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD) enable the detection and timing of individual photons of light and have become a key technology in applications such as LIDAR and biomedical imaging. In recent years, large array format sensors have emerged, with integrated digital processing to provide high-speed, scanless imaging. The advent of 3D-stacked sensor architectures, combined with modern technology nodes, is further accelerating the advances in embedded processing. However, significant challenges remain in the compression of photon data to facilitate 2D/3D image acquisition at the high frame rates, dynamic range, and resolution demanded by some applications, whilst maintaining output data rates at suitable levels. There is furthermore interest in computationally lightweight, low-latency schemes for image analysis and scene interpretation tailored to single-photon sensors.

This project will exploit the latest technology trends to develop new photon processing approaches – targeting on-chip, FPGA and/or software implementation – to enhance existing SPAD applications and unlock new forms of imaging. Applications that may be considered include LIDAR perception for robots and drones, and high-speed neural imaging.

The project will benefit from existing SPAD sensors developed at the University of Edinburgh, enabling the collection of experimental datasets for algorithm development. Results of the project will in turn inform the design of future SPAD sensors and cameras. There will be opportunities to engage with industrial partners and to contribute to integrated circuit (IC) design.

Further Information: 

Relevant publications include:

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Closing Date: 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: