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Proceedings Paper

Towards arrays of smart-pixels for time-correlated single photon counting and time of flight application
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Paper Abstract

We present a novel "smart-pixel" able to detect single photons and to measure and record in-pixel the time delay between a START pulse (e.g., laser excitation, cell stimulus, or LIDAR flash) and a STOP pulse given by the detection of a single photon (e. g., fluorescence decay signal or back reflection from an object). This smart-pixel represents the basic building block of SPAD arrays aimed at time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) applications (like FLIM, FCS, FRET), but also at photon timing and direct Time-of-Flight (dTOF) measurements for 3D ranging applications (e.g., in LIDAR systems). The pixel comprises a Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) detector, an analog sensing and driving electronics, and a Time-to-Digital Converter monolithically designed and manufactured into the same chip. We report on the design and characterization of prototype circuits, fabricated in a 0.35 μm standard CMOS technology containing complete conversion channels, smart-pixels and ancillary electronics with 20 μm active area diameter SPAD detectors and related quenching circuitry. With a 100 MHz reference clock, the TDC provides a time-resolution of 10 ps, a dynamic range of 160 ns and very high conversion linearity.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 January 2011
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7942, Optoelectronic Integrated Circuits XIII, 79420K (17 January 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.873951
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. 7942:
Optoelectronic Integrated Circuits XIII
Louay A. Eldada; El-Hang Lee, Editor(s)

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