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Optical Engineering

Linear mode photon counting with the noiseless gain HgCdTe e-avalanche photodiode
Author(s): Jeffrey D. Beck; Richard Scritchfield; Pradip Mitra; William W. Sullivan; Anthony D. Gleckler; Robert Strittmatter; Robert J. Martin
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Paper Abstract

A linear mode photon counting focal plane array using HgCdTe mid-wave infrared (MWIR) cutoff electron initiated avalanche photodiodes (e-APDs) has been designed, fabricated, and characterized. The broad spectral range (0.4 to 4.3 μm) is unique among photon counters, making this a “first of its kind” system spanning the visible to the MWIR. The low excess noise [F(M)≈1] of the e-APDs allows for robust photon detection while operating at a stable linear avalanche gain in the range of 500–1000. The readout integrated circuit (ROIC) design included a very high gain-bandwidth product resistive transimpedance amplifier (3×10 13   Ω-Hz ) and a 4 ns output digital pulse width comparator. The ROIC had 16 high-bandwidth analogs and 16 low-voltage differential signaling digital outputs. The 2×8 array was integrated into an LN2 Dewar with a custom leadless chip carrier and daughter board design that preserved high-bandwidth analog and digital signal integrity. The 2×8 e-APD arrays were fabricated on 4.3 μm cutoff HgCdTe and operated at 84 K. The measured dark currents were approximately 1 pA at 13 V bias where the measured avalanche photodiode gain was 500. This translates to a predicted dark current induced dark count rate of less than 20 KHz. Single photon detection was achieved with a photon pulse signal-to-noise ratio of 13.7 above the amplifier noise floor. A photon detection efficiency of 50% was measured at a photon background limited false event rate of about 1 MHz. The measured jitter was in the range of 550–800 ps. The demonstrated minimum time between distinguishable events was less than 10 ns.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 April 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Opt. Eng. 53(8) 081905 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.53.8.081905
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 53, Issue 8
Show Author Affiliations
Jeffrey D. Beck, DRS Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Richard Scritchfield, DRS Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Pradip Mitra, DRS Technologies, Inc. (United States)
William W. Sullivan, DRS Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Anthony D. Gleckler, GEOST, Inc. (United States)
Robert Strittmatter, GEOST, Inc. (United States)
Robert J. Martin, Analog/Digital Integrated Circuits, Inc. (United States)

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