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Quanta Burst Photography

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Document pages: 28 pages

Abstract: Single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) are an emerging sensor technologycapable of detecting individual incident photons, and capturing theirtime-of-arrival with high timing precision. While these sensors were limited tosingle-pixel or low-resolution devices in the past, recently, large (up to 1MPixel) SPAD arrays have been developed. These single-photon cameras (SPCs) arecapable of capturing high-speed sequences of binary single-photon images withno read noise. We present quanta burst photography, a computational photographytechnique that leverages SPCs as passive imaging devices for photography inchallenging conditions, including ultra low-light and fast motion. Inspired byrecent success of conventional burst photography, we design algorithms thatalign and merge binary sequences captured by SPCs into intensity images withminimal motion blur and artifacts, high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and highdynamic range. We theoretically analyze the SNR and dynamic range of quantaburst photography, and identify the imaging regimes where it providessignificant benefits. We demonstrate, via a recently developed SPAD array, thatthe proposed method is able to generate high-quality images for scenes withchallenging lighting, complex geometries, high dynamic range and movingobjects. With the ongoing development of SPAD arrays, we envision quanta burstphotography finding applications in both consumer and scientific photography.

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