8 May 2017 Time stamping of single optical photons with 10 ns resolution
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Abstract
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.
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Irakli Chakaberia, Mircea Cotlet, Merlin Fisher-Levine, Diedra R. Hodges, Jayke Nguyen, Andrei Nomerotski, "Time stamping of single optical photons with 10 ns resolution", Proc. SPIE 10212, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XI, 102120Q (8 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2262212; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262212
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