Proceedings Volume 10212

Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XI

Proceedings Volume 10212

Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XI

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Volume Details

Date Published: 20 June 2017
Contents: 9 Sessions, 12 Papers, 13 Presentations
Conference: SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging 2017
Volume Number: 10212

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

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  • Front Matter: Volume 10212
  • Single Photon Metrology
  • DARPA DETECT Program I
  • Superconducting Nanowire SPDs
  • Semiconductor SPDs
  • SPAD Arrays
  • Applications of Photon Counting II
  • Poster Session
Front Matter: Volume 10212
Front Matter: Volume 10212
This PDF file contains the front matter associated with SPIE Proceedings Volume 10212, including the Title Page, Copyright information, Table of Contents, and Conference Committee listing.
Single Photon Metrology
Calibration of a single-photon counting detectors without the need of input photon flux calibration (Conference Presentation)
Calibration of fiber-coupled single-photon detectors usually requires knowledge of the input photon flux inside the fiber and/or knowledge of the linearity of a reference power meter. Many approaches have been presented in the past to accurately measure the photon detection probability of a single photon detector [1-6]. Under certain assumptions, one can utilize waveguide-coupled single photon detectors and a series of photon-counting measurements and a single-photon source to calibrate the detection efficiency of a single photon detector without the need of a reference power meter and the knowledge of the incoming photon flux. Here, this method is presented. Furthermore, if a reference detector is used, the detection efficiency of all evanescently coupled waveguide detectors can be measured, and the measurement outcome does not depend on splicing or fiber connection losses within in the setup, i.e., the measurement is setup-independent. In addition, the method, when using a reference detector, can be utilized to measure and distinguish between the absorption of a waveguide-coupled single photon detector and its internal detection efficiency. [1] A. J. Miller et al, Opt. Express 19, 9102–9110 (2011) [2] I. Muller et al., Metrologia 51, S329 (2014). [3] A. L. Migdall, Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on 50, 478–481 (2001). [4] S. V. Polyakov, A. L. Migdall, Optics Express 15, 1390–1407 (2007). [5] A. Avella et al., Optics Express 19, 23249–23257 (2011). [6] T. Lunghi et al., Opt. Express 22, 18078-18092 (2014)
Coherent quantum frequency bridge: phase preserving, nearly noiseless parametric frequency converter
Ivan A. Burenkov, Y.-H. Cheng, Tim Thomay, et al.
We characterize an efficient and nearly-noiseless parametric frequency upconverter. The ultra-low noise regime is reached by the wide spectral separation between the input and pump frequencies and the low pump frequency relative to the input photons. The background of only ≈100 photons per hour is demonstrated. We demonstrate phase preservation in a frequency upconversion process at the single-photon level. We summarize our efforts to measure this ultra-low noise level, and discuss both single-photon avalanche photodiode measurements and a photon-counting transition edge sensor (TES) measurements. To reach the required accuracy, we supplemented our TES with a dark count reduction algorithm. The preservation of the coherence was demonstrated by simultaneously upconverting the input of each arm of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer through high interference fringe contrast. We observe fringe visibilities of ≥0.97 with faint coherent input.
Quantum avalanche detection science (Conference Presentation)
Joe C. Campbell, Olivier Pfister, Andreas Beling, et al.
This Conference Presentation was recorded at SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging 2017 held in Anaheim, California, United States.
Photon detection with an ultra low noise and highly efficient amplification mechanism (Conference Presentation)
This Conference Presentation was recorded at SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging 2017 held in Anaheim, California, United States.
Bio-inspired photon detection using chromophore/nanotube hybrids (Conference Presentation)
The human eye is an exquisite optical system with the ability to detect individual photons at room temperature. However, the complexity of this system, optimized over millions of years, has been difficult to reproduce using synthetic techniques. Here we discuss a bio-inspired approach for photon detection based on chromophore/nanotube hybrids, where the chromophore plays a similar role to the retinal molecule in the human eye, and the signal transduction is provided by electronic transport in the carbon nanotube. In this presentation, I will present the concept and discuss our progress in realizing this type of photodetection mechanism.
Prospects and fundamental limitations of room temperature, non-avalanche, semiconductor photon-counting sensors (Conference Presentation)
Jiaju Ma, Yang Zhang, Xiaoxin Wang, et al.
This research investigates the fundamental limits and trade-space of quantum semiconductor photodetectors using the Schrödinger equation and the laws of thermodynamics.We envision that, to optimize the metrics of single photon detection, it is critical to maximize the optical absorption in the minimal volume and minimize the carrier transit process simultaneously. Integration of photon management with quantum charge transport/redistribution upon optical excitation can be engineered to maximize the quantum efficiency (QE) and data rate and minimize timing jitter at the same time. Due to the ultra-low capacitance of these quantum devices, even a single photoelectron transfer can induce a notable change in the voltage, enabling non-avalanche single photon detection at room temperature as has been recently demonstrated in Si quanta image sensors (QIS). In this research, uniform III-V quantum dots (QDs) and Si QIS are used as model systems to test the theory experimentally. Based on the fundamental understanding, we also propose proof-of-concept, photon-managed quantum capacitance photodetectors. Built upon the concepts of QIS and single electron transistor (SET), this novel device structure provides a model system to synergistically test the fundamental limits and tradespace predicted by the theory for semiconductor detectors. This project is sponsored under DARPA/ARO's DETECT Program: Fundamental Limits of Quantum Semiconductor Photodetectors.
Superconducting Nanowire SPDs
Superconducting nanowire single photon detectors based on amorphous superconductors (Conference Presentation)
Boris Korzh, Misael Caloz, Jelmer Renema, et al.
Superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPD) made from amorphous superconductors have showed great promise for achieving high fabrication yields, due to the highly uniform nature of the films. We present progress on the development of SNSPD based on amorphous MoSi with a critical temperature of around 5 K, which is ideal for detector operation at temperatures of 1 – 2.5 K, accessible with widely available cryogenic systems. First generation devices have achieved a saturated internal efficiency from visible to near-infrared wavelengths, which is the first requirement for high overall system efficiency. The broadband response has allowed us to make a robust study the energy-current relation in these devices, which defines the current required for a saturated internal detection efficiency for a given incident photon energy. Contrary to previous studies with other material systems, we find a nonlinear energy-current relation, which is an important insight into the detection mechanism in SNSPDs. The latest generation devices have been embedded into an micro-cavity structure in order to increase the system detection efficiency, which has increased to over 65% at 1550 nm. The efficiency is believed to be limited by fabrication imperfections and we present ongoing progress towards improving this characteristic as well as the yield of the devices. Efforts are also being made towards increasing the maximum operating temperature of the devices.
Semiconductor SPDs
Fully industrialised single photon avalanche diodes
Single Photon Avalanche diodes (SPADs) were first realized more than five decades ago[1][1], and have now been industrialized for mass production in the 130 nm CMOS technology node by STMicroelectronics (STM). In this paper we present the latest STM SPAD with an excellent NIR photon detection probability (>5% at 850nm), a dark count rate median of 100 cps at room temperature and a low breakdown voltage of 14.2V. The dead time of the SPAD is approximately 25 ns, leading to a maximum count rate of 40 Mcps.

Thanks to the 130 nm gate length of the CMOS technology used and the associated high digital gate density, complex digital signal processing can be implemented allowing fully integrated systems to be realized. The low bias required by the SPAD makes it possible for voltage generation to be achieved on-chip (e.g. charge pumped).

We introduce our first generation time-of-flight system (VL6180) based on the STM SPAD technology, which is capable of ranging up to 60 cm in 60 ms. Ranging capabilities and accuracy are measured using a set of moving targets with reflectance of 5%, 17% and 88% in a fully automated test bed. To the best of our knowledge this was the first high volume SPAD-based device.

To our knowledge this is the first time details of SPAD performance over production volumes and lifetime have been presented.
Free-running InGaAs/InP single-photon avalanche diodes with 50 ps timing jitter (Conference Presentation)
In recent years, many applications have been proposed that require detection of light signals in the near-infrared (NIR) range with single-photon sensitivity and time resolution below 100 ps; notably laser ranging, biomedical imaging, quantum key distribution (QKD) and quantum information and communication experiments. The current state of the art in terms of timing resolution in the NIR range is a jitter below 20 ps achieved by superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD). A more practical and compact alternative that does not require cryogenic cooling is represented by InGaAs/InP single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs). Indeed, gated-mode SPADs can achieve a timing resolution below 50 ps at relatively high excess biases (above 7 V). However, despite their good performance in terms of photon detection efficiency, dark count rate and timing resolution, standard InGaAs/InP SPADs are limited by their afterpulsing noise to gated-mode operation, thus precluding their use in many applications. Negative-feedback avalanche diodes (NFADs) are a special structure of InGaAs/InP SPADs where a monolitically-integrated quenching resistor is used to reduce the afterpulsing noise contribution hence allowing free-running operation. Here, we present our recent results on the characterization of the timing response of different NFAD detectors for temperatures down to 143 K that demonstrate how NFADs can achieve timing jitter down to 50 ps in an extended range of operating conditions.
Progress in low light-level InAs detectors- towards Geiger-mode detection
InAs avalanche photodiodes (APDs) can be designed such that only electrons are allowed to initiate impact ionization, leading to the lowest possible excess noise factor. Optimization of wet chemical etching and surface passivation produced mesa APDs with bulk dominated dark current and responsivity that are comparable and higher, respectively, than a commercial InAs detector. Our InAs electron-APDs also show high stability with fluctuation of ~0.1% when operated at a gain of 11.2 over 60 s. These InAs APDs can detect very weak signal down to ~35 photons per pulse. Fabrication of planar InAs by Be implantation produced planar APDs with bulk dominated dark current. Annealing at 550 °C was necessary to remove implantation damage and to activate Be dopants. Due to minimal diffusion of Be, thick depletion of 8 μm was achieved. Since the avalanche gain increases exponentially with the thickness of avalanche region, our planar APD achieved high gain > 300 at 200 K. Our work suggest that both mesa and planar InAs APDs can exhibit high gain. When combined with a suitable preamplifier, single photon detection using InAs electron-APDs could be achieved.
Room temperature 1040fps, 1 megapixel photon-counting image sensor with 1.1um pixel pitch
S. Masoodian, J. Ma, D. Starkey, et al.
A 1Mjot single-bit quanta image sensor (QIS) implemented in a stacked backside-illuminated (BSI) process is presented. This is the first work to report a megapixel photon-counting CMOS-type image sensor to the best of our knowledge. A QIS with 1.1μm pitch tapered-pump-gate jots is implemented with cluster-parallel readout, where each cluster of jots is associated with its own dedicated readout electronics stacked under the cluster. Power dissipation is reduced with this cluster readout because of the reduced column bus parasitic capacitance, which is important for the development of 1Gjot arrays. The QIS functions at 1040fps with binary readout and dissipates only 17.6mW, including I/O pads. The readout signal chain uses a fully differential charge-transfer amplifier (CTA) gain stage before a 1b-ADC to achieve an energy/bit FOM of 16.1pJ/b and 6.9pJ/b for the whole sensor and gain stage+ADC, respectively. Analog outputs with on-chip gain are implemented for pixel characterization purposes.
SPAD Arrays
Ultra-high cell-density silicon photomultipliers with high detection efficiency
Fabio Acerbi, Alberto Gola, Veronica Regazzoni, et al.
Silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) are arrays of many single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs), all connected in parallel. Each SPAD is sensitive to single photons and the SiPM gives an output proportional to the number of detected photons. These sensors are becoming more and more popular in different applications, from high-energy physics to spectroscopy, and they have been significantly improved over last years, decreasing the noise, increasing the cell fill-factor (FF) and thus achieving very high photon-detection efficiency (PDE). In FBK (Trento, Italy), we developed new SiPM technologies with high-density (HD) and, more recently, ultra-high-density (UHD) of cells (i.e. density of SPADs). These technologies employ deep-trenches between cells, for electrical and optical isolation. As an extreme case the smallest-cell, SiPM, i.e. with 5μm cell pitch, has about 40000 SPADs per squared millimeter. Such small SPAD dimensions gives a significantly high dynamic range to the SiPM. These small-cells SiPM have a lower correlated noise (including lower afterpulsing probability) and a faster recharge time (in the order of few nanoseconds), and they also preserve a very good detection efficiency (despite the small SPAD dimension).
Time-resolved CMOS SPAD arrays: architectures, applications and perspectives
Federica Villa, Rudi Lussana, Davide Portaluppi, et al.
SPADs (Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes) are the viable photodetectors for most single-photon counting and photontiming applications. Some custom SPAD and many complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) SPADs have been reported in literature, with quite different performance and some excelling in just few of them, but often at different operating conditions. Proper performance assessment can be done through figures of merit able to summarize the typical SPAD performance (i.e. photon detection efficiency, dark counting rate, afterpulsing probability, hold-off time, and timing jitter) and to identify a proper metric for SPAD comparisons, when used either as single pixel detectors or in imaging arrays. We present a comparison among some imager architectures and SPAD detectors and arrays in either photon-counting, timing, or imaging applications.
Asynchronous Geiger-mode APD cameras with free-running InGaAsP pixels (Conference Presentation)
Mark Itzler, Gennaro Salzano, Mark Entwistle, et al.
We describe Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GmAPD) cameras designed with asynchronous free-running operation that supports single-photon direct detection and coherent detection 3D LiDAR imaging as well as free-running applications such as free-space optical communications and target acquisition and tracking. Each free-running pixel in the 32x32 focal plane array performs independent time-of-flight measurements with a selectable reset time between 0.1 and 10 μs. Asynchronous reporting of time-of-flight and pixel location data allows continuous operation for arbitrarily long periods of time at sampling rates exceeding 0.7 Gsample/s. We report results for cameras optimized for operation using either 1.0 or 1.5 μm LiDAR sources.
Applications of Photon Counting II
Time stamping of single optical photons with 10 ns resolution
Irakli Chakaberia, Mircea Cotlet, Merlin Fisher-Levine, et al.
High spatial and temporal resolution are key features for many modern applications, e.g. mass spectrometry, probing the structure of materials via neutron scattering, studying molecular structure, etc.1-5 Fast imaging also provides the capability of coincidence detection, and the further addition of sensitivity to single optical photons with the capability of timestamping them further broadens the field of potential applications. Photon counting is already widely used in X-ray imaging,6 where the high energy of the photons makes their detection easier.

TimepixCam is a novel optical imager,7 which achieves high spatial resolution using an array of 256×256 55 μm × 55μm pixels which have individually controlled functionality. It is based on a thin-entrance-window silicon sensor, bump-bonded to a Timepix ASIC.8 TimepixCam provides high quantum efficiency in the optical wavelength range (400-1000 nm).

We perform the timestamping of single photons with a time resolution of 20 ns, by coupling TimepixCam to a fast image-intensifier with a P47 phosphor screen. The fast emission time of the P479 allows us to preserve good time resolution while maintaining the capability to focus the optical output of the intensifier onto the 256×256 pixel Timepix sensor area. We demonstrate the capability of the (TimepixCam + image intensifier) setup to provide high-resolution single-photon timestamping, with an effective frame rate of 50 MHz.
X-ray backscatter sensing of defects in carbon fibre composite materials
Daniel O'Flynn, Chiaki Crews, Nicholas Fox, et al.
X-ray backscatter (XBS) provides a novel approach to the field of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) in the aerospace industry. XBS is conducted by collecting the radiation which is scattered from a sample illuminated by a well-defined Xray beam, and the technique enables objects to be scanned at a sub-surface level using single-sided access, and without the requirement for coupling with the sample. Single-sided access is of particular importance when the objects of interest are very large, such as aircraft components. Carbon fibre composite materials are being increasingly used as a structural material in aircraft, and there is an increasing demand for techniques which are sensitive to the delaminations which occur in these composites as a result of both large impacts and barely visible impact damage (BVID). The XBS signal is greatly enhanced for plastics and lightweight materials, making it an ideal candidate for probing sub-surface damage and defects in carbon fibre composites. Here we present both computer modelling and experimental data which demonstrate the capability of the XBS technique for identifying hidden defects in carbon fibre.
Poster Session
The ultraviolet detection component based on Te-Cs image intensifier
Yunsheng Qian, Xiaoyu Zhou, Yujing Wu, et al.
Ultraviolet detection technology has been widely focused and adopted in the fields of ultraviolet warning and corona detection for its significant value and practical meaning. The component structure of ultraviolet ICMOS, imaging driving and the photon counting algorithm are studied in this paper. Firstly, the one-inch and wide dynamic range CMOS chip with the coupling optical fiber panel is coupled to the ultraviolet image intensifier. The photocathode material in ultraviolet image intensifier is Te-Cs, which contributes to the solar blind characteristic, and the dual micro-channel plates (MCP) structure ensures the sufficient gain to achieve the single photon counting. Then, in consideration of the ultraviolet detection demand, the drive circuit of the CMOS chip is designed and the corresponding program based on Verilog language is written. According to the characteristics of ultraviolet imaging, the histogram equalization method is applied to enhance the ultraviolet image and the connected components labeling way is utilized for the ultraviolet single photon counting. Moreover, one visible light video channel is reserved in the ultraviolet ICOMS camera, which can be used for the fusion of ultraviolet and visible images. Based upon the module, the ultraviolet optical lens and the deep cut-off solar blind filter are adopted to construct the ultraviolet detector. At last, the detection experiment of the single photon signal is carried out, and the test results are given and analyzed.
Characterizing the Nash equilibria of three-player Bayesian quantum games
Neal Solmeyer, Radhakrishnan Balu
Quantum games with incomplete information can be studied within a Bayesian framework. We analyze games quantized within the EWL framework [Eisert, Wilkens, and Lewenstein, Phys Rev. Lett. 83, 3077 (1999)]. We solve for the Nash equilibria of a variety of two-player quantum games and compare the results to the solutions of the corresponding classical games. We then analyze Bayesian games where there is uncertainty about the player types in two-player conflicting interest games. The solutions to the Bayesian games are found to have a phase diagram-like structure where different equilibria exist in different parameter regions, depending both on the amount of uncertainty and the degree of entanglement. We find that in games where a Pareto-optimal solution is not a Nash equilibrium, it is possible for the quantized game to have an advantage over the classical version. In addition, we analyze the behavior of the solutions as the strategy choices approach an unrestricted operation. We find that some games have a continuum of solutions, bounded by the solutions of a simpler restricted game. A deeper understanding of Bayesian quantum game theory could lead to novel quantum applications in a multi-agent setting.
Software-defined network abstractions and configuration interfaces for building programmable quantum networks
Venkat R. Dasari, Ronald J. Sadlier, Billy E. Geerhart III, et al.
Well-defined and stable quantum networks are essential to realize functional quantum communication applications. Quantum networks are complex and must use both quantum and classical channels to support quantum applications like QKD, teleportation, and superdense coding. In particular, the no-cloning theorem prevents the reliable copying of quantum signals such that the quantum and classical channels must be highly coordinated using robust and extensible methods. In this paper, we describe new network abstractions and interfaces for building programmable quantum networks. Our approach leverages new OpenFlow data structures and table type patterns to build programmable quantum networks and to support quantum applications.