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Proceedings Paper

Single-photon semiconductor photodiodes for distributed optical fiber sensors: state of the art and perspectives
Author(s): Giancarlo Ripamonti; Andrea L. Lacaita
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Paper Abstract

The extreme sensitivity and time resolution of Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes (GM- APDs) have already been exploited for optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR). Better than 1 cm spatial resolution in Rayleigh scattering detection was demonstrated. Distributed and quasi-distributed optical fiber sensors can take advantage of the capabilities of GM-APDs. Extensive studies have recently disclosed the main characteristics and limitations of silicon devices, both commercially available and developmental. In this paper we report an analysis of the performance of these detectors. The main characteristics of GM-APDs of interest for distributed optical fiber sensors are briefly reviewed. Command electronics (active quenching) is then introduced. The detector timing performance sets the maximum spatial resolution in experiments employing OTDR techniques. We highlight that the achievable time resolution depends on the physics of the avalanche spreading over the device area. On the basis of these results, trade-off between the important parameters (quantum efficiency, time resolution, background noise, and afterpulsing effects) is considered. Finally, we show first results on Germanium devices, capable of single photon sensitivity at 1.3 and 1.5 micrometers with sub- nanosecond time resolution.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 March 1993
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1797, Distributed and Multiplexed Fiber Optic Sensors II, (5 March 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.141300
Show Author Affiliations
Giancarlo Ripamonti, Univ. degli Studi di Milano (Italy)
Andrea L. Lacaita, Ctr. di Elettronica Quantistica e Strumentazione Elettronica (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1797:
Distributed and Multiplexed Fiber Optic Sensors II
John P. Dakin; Alan D. Kersey, Editor(s)

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