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Fast single-photon imager acquires 1024 pixels at 100 kframe/s
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Paper Abstract

We present the design and we discuss in depth the operating conditions of a two-dimensional (2-D) imaging array of single-photon detectors that provides a total of 1024 pixels, laid out in 32 rows by 32 columns array, integrated within a monolithic silicon chip with dimensions of 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm. We employed a standard high-voltage 0.35μm CMOS fabrication technology, with no need of any custom processing. Each pixel consists of one Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) and a compact front-end analog electronics followed by a digital processing circuitry. The in-pixel front-end electronics senses the ignition of the avalanche, quenches the detector, provides a pulse and restores the detector for detecting a subsequent photon. The processing circuitry counts events (both photon and unwelcome "noise" ignition) within user-selectable integration time-slots and stores the count into an in-pixel memory cell, which is read-out in 10 ns/pixel. Such a two-levels pipeline architecture allows to acquire the actual frame while contemporary reading out the previous one, thus achieving a very high free-running frame rate, with negligible inter-frame dead-time. Each pixel is therefore a completely independent photon-counter. The measured Photo Detection Efficiency (PDE) tops 43% at 5V excess-bias, while the Dark-Counting Rate (DCR) is below 4kcps (counts per second) at room temperature. The maximum frame-rate depends on the system clock; with a convenient 100MHz system clock we achieved a free-running speed of 100 kframe/s from the all 1024 pixels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 January 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7249, Sensors, Cameras, and Systems for Industrial/Scientific Applications X, 72490U (27 January 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.807426
Show Author Affiliations
Fabrizio Guerrieri, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Simone Tisa, Micro Photon Devices (Italy)
Franco Zappa, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Micro Photon Devices (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7249:
Sensors, Cameras, and Systems for Industrial/Scientific Applications X
Erik Bodegom; Valérie Nguyen, Editor(s)

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