LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by irradiating a laser light on objects and catching the light reflected back with a photosensor. In recent years, great progress has been made towards realizing fully autonomous automobiles. LiDAR has high azimuth resolution, making it possible to find the distance, shape, and relative positions of surrounding vehicles, pedestrians, buildings, and other objects with high accuracy. This technology has attracted attention for its potential in various applications, including ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicles).

Hamamatsu offers a variety of devices for time-of-flight (TOF) LiDAR, including pulsed laser diodes as light sources and Si APDs, InGaAs APDs, and MPPCs (SiPMs) as photosensors. 


We also offer custom support for these devices, as well as various solutions for the frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR concepts. These devices can be AEC qualified and registered to IMDS upon request, as well as comply to the ISO/TS 16949 quality management system.


Talk to Hamamatsu about your needs or requirements for TOF and FMCW LiDAR concepts.

Mechanism of TOF LiDAR

LiDAR for automobiles mainly uses the direct TOF method. This method calculates the distance by calculating the length of time for a light pulse to travel from its light source, be reflected off an object, and return to the sensor.

Mechanism of TOF (time-of-flight) LiDAR

Relationship between light source / photosensor and wavelength

Relationship between light source / photosensor and wavelength

Comparison of photosensors

Parameter PIN photodiode APD MPPC®
Measurement distance Short Middle Long
Readout circuit TIA required TIA required Simple circuit design
Operation voltage Up to 10 V 100 to 200 V Up to several tens of V
Gain 1 10 to 100 105
Temperature characteristics Excellent Fair Good
Response speed Good Good Excellent
Tolerance to background light Excellent Good Good

Recommended products for LiDAR designs

Light sources for TOF LiDAR

Hamamatsu offers multi-stack, edge-emitting laser diodes that have high light output power and a sharp light emission pattern, to enable the development of short to long range TOF LiDAR concepts.  

  • Higher peak power (up to >200 Watts) can be achieved with emission width from 70 µm to 360 µm and multi-stack laser designs
  • High quality laser arrays (2-8 or more channels) with sharp NFP (near field pattern) and FFP (far field pattern) meets LiDAR's wide field-of-view needs
  • Flexible packaging includes bare die, SMD, TO can and more

Talk to us about various custom chip and assembly possibilities tailored to the automotive or industrial LiDAR design needs.

Photodetectors for short range TOF LiDAR (<50 m)

This device features low voltage operation and small variation in characteristics with temperature changes, which allows easy handling. It is mainly used in short distance applications.

The S8558 is a 16-element Si PIN photodiode array in a ceramic chip carrier package suitable for surface mounting using solder reflow techniques.

Photodetectors for mid-range TOF LiDAR (100-150 m)

This Si APD has sensitivity to the emission wavelength of the LiDAR laser (905 nm). It is mainly used for medium to long distances.

This device integrates a Si APD and front-end IC. It occupies a smaller mounting area on the substrate compared to discrete semiconductors.

This device integrates a Si APD and front-end IC. It is capable of reading output from any one channel specified in the selection logic.

This device integrates a 16-channel Si APD array and front-end IC. It is capable of reading the output from all 16 channels simultaneously.

This is a surface mount type MPPC designed for automotive LiDAR applications that achieves high sensitivity and low afterpulses.

Photodetectors for long range TOF LiDAR (>150 m)

The G13176 series is a small near infrared detector available in a surface mount COB package.

InGaAs PIN photodiodes have large shunt resistance and feature very low noise.

This InGaAs APD (avalanche photodiode) has greatly reduced dark current over existing products due to the use of a new device structure and improved processing.

This is a surface mount type MPPC designed for automotive LiDAR applications that achieves high sensitivity and low afterpulses.

Recommended products for LiDAR system calibration, manufacturing, and testing

UV-LED light sources have high output and feature a proprietary air-cooling method.

The Laser-Driven Light Source or LDLS is an innovative light source developed by Energetiq Technology, Inc. in the US, which is a subsidiary of Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.

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