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Proceedings Paper

LinoSPAD: a time-resolved 256x1 CMOS SPAD line sensor system featuring 64 FPGA-based TDC channels running at up to 8.5 giga-events per second
Author(s): Samuel Burri; Harald Homulle; Claudio Bruschini; Edoardo Charbon
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Paper Abstract

LinoSPAD is a reconfigurable camera sensor with a 256×1 CMOS SPAD (single-photon avalanche diode) pixel array connected to a low cost Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA. The LinoSPAD sensor’s line of pixels has a pitch of 24 μm and 40% fill factor. The FPGA implements an array of 64 TDCs and histogram engines capable of processing up to 8.5 giga-photons per second. The LinoSPAD sensor measures 1.68 mm×6.8 mm and each pixel has a direct digital output to connect to the FPGA. The chip is bonded on a carrier PCB to connect to the FPGA motherboard. 64 carry chain based TDCs sampled at 400 MHz can generate a timestamp every 7.5 ns with a mean time resolution below 25 ps per code. The 64 histogram engines provide time-of-arrival histograms covering up to 50 ns. An alternative mode allows the readout of 28 bit timestamps which have a range of up to 4.5 ms. Since the FPGA TDCs have considerable non-linearity we implemented a correction module capable of increasing histogram linearity at real-time. The TDC array is interfaced to a computer using a super-speed USB3 link to transfer over 150k histograms per second for the 12.5 ns reference period used in our characterization. After characterization and subsequent programming of the post-processing we measure an instrument response histogram shorter than 100 ps FWHM using a strong laser pulse with 50 ps FWHM. A timing resolution that when combined with the high fill factor makes the sensor well suited for a wide variety of applications from fluorescence lifetime microscopy over Raman spectroscopy to 3D time-of-flight.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2016
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9899, Optical Sensing and Detection IV, 98990D (29 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2227564
Show Author Affiliations
Samuel Burri, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Harald Homulle, Technische Univ. Delft (Netherlands)
Claudio Bruschini, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Edoardo Charbon, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Technische Univ. Delft (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9899:
Optical Sensing and Detection IV
Francis Berghmans; Anna G. Mignani, Editor(s)

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