6 May 2013 Figures of merit for CMOS SPADs and arrays
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SPADs (Single Photon Avalanche Diodes) are emerging as most suitable photodetectors for both single-photon counting (Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy, Lock-in 3D Ranging) and single-photon timing (Lidar, Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging, Diffuse Optical Imaging) applications. Different complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) implementations have been reported in literature. We present some figure of merit able to summarize the typical SPAD performances (i.e. Dark Counting Rate, Photo Detection Efficiency, afterpulsing probability, hold-off time, timing jitter) and to identify a proper metric for SPAD comparison, both as single detectors and also as imaging arrays. The goal is to define a practical framework within which it is possible to rank detectors based on their performances in specific experimental conditions, for either photon-counting or photon-timing applications. Furthermore we review the performances of some CMOS and custom-made SPADs. Results show that CMOS SPADs performances improve as the technology scales down; moreover, miniaturization of SPADs and new solutions adopted to counteract issues related with the SPAD design (electric field uniformity, premature edge breakdown, tunneling effects, defect-rich STI interface) along with advances in standard CMOS processes led to a general improvement in all fabricated photodetectors; therefore, CMOS SPADs can be suitable for very dense and cost-effective many-pixels imagers with high performances.
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D. Bronzi, D. Bronzi, F. Villa, F. Villa, S. Bellisai, S. Bellisai, S. Tisa, S. Tisa, G. Ripamonti, G. Ripamonti, A. Tosi, A. Tosi, "Figures of merit for CMOS SPADs and arrays", Proc. SPIE 8773, Photon Counting Applications IV; and Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Transfer and Processing, 877304 (6 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2017357; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2017357

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