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Proceedings Paper

High-dynamic-range imaging with photon-counting arrays (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Ivan Michel Antolović; Claudio Bruschini; Edoardo Charbon

Paper Abstract

High-dynamic-range imaging enables recording scenes with both very dark and bright subscenes. When coupled with photon-counting, the highest signal-to-noise ratio is obtained. Solid-state photon-counting can be implemented either with single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs), or with conventional CMOS image sensors featuring high conversion gain and low readout noise. In SPAD-based imagers, the pixel dead time (Tdead) limits the dynamic range to the maximum counting rate, i.e. 1/Tdead, as well as a nonlinear photon response. Conventional CMOS image sensors with photon-counting capability are limited in dynamic range due to low full-well capacity, while oversampling in time and/or space (like in the quanta image sensor approach) increases the readout noise, thereby deteriorating the photon-counting capability. We present a quantitative analysis on how to use the SPAD photon response nonlinearity and count saturation to actually extend the optical dynamic range far beyond 1/Tdead. Theory and simulations are compared to measurements of the photon response, standard deviation and signal-to-noise ratio for different SPAD recharging (or resetting in CMOS imagers) mechanisms. We also quantify the decrease in signal-to-noise ratio when applying linearization corrections. Results show that by applying active clock recharge, one can extend the optical dynamic range by a factor of 2.8 over 1/Tdead, and by more than 16× over 1/Tdead with active event-driven recharge. It has to be noted that this methodology can be applied to any photon-counting array. Further, we discuss high-resolution image sensor architectures enabling photon counting with single exposure >120dB dynamic range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2019
Proc. SPIE 10926, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XVI, 109260X (8 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2511251
Show Author Affiliations
Ivan Michel Antolović, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Claudio Bruschini, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Edoardo Charbon, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10926:
Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XVI
Manijeh Razeghi; Jay S. Lewis; Eric Tournié; Giti A. Khodaparast, Editor(s)

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