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Proceedings Paper

Monolithic single-photon detectors and time-to-digital converters for picoseconds time-of-flight ranging
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Paper Abstract

We present a novel "smart-pixel" able to measure and record in-pixel the time delay (photon timing) between a START (e.g. given by laser excitation, cell stimulus, or LIDAR flash) and a STOP (e.g. arrival of the first returning photon from the fluorescence decay signal or back reflection from an object). Such smart-pixel relies of a SPAD detector and a Timeto- Digital Converter monolithically designed and manufactured in the same chip. Many pixels can be laid out in a rows by columns architecture, to give birth to expandable 2D imaging arrays for picoseconds-level single-photon timing applications. Distance measurements, by means of direct TOF detection (used in LIDAR systems) provided by each pixel, can open the way to the fabrication of single-chip 3D ranging arrays for scene reconstruction and intelligent object recognition. We report on the design and characterization of prototype circuits, fabricated in a 0.35 μm standard CMOS technology containing complete conversion channels, "smart-pixel" and ancillary electronics with 20 μm active area diameter SPAD detector and related quenching circuitry. With a 100 MHz reference clock, the TDC provides timeresolution of 10 ps, dynamic range of 160 ns and very high conversion linearity.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 February 2011
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7875, Sensors, Cameras, and Systems for Industrial, Scientific, and Consumer Applications XII, 78750P (16 February 2011);
Show Author Affiliations
Bojan Markovic, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Simone Tisa, Micro Photon Devices S.r.l. (Italy)
Alberto Tosi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Franco Zappa, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7875:
Sensors, Cameras, and Systems for Industrial, Scientific, and Consumer Applications XII
Ralf Widenhorn; Valérie Nguyen, Editor(s)

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