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Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) operating in Geiger mode can detect weak optical signals at high speed. The implementation of APD systems in a CMOS technology makes it possible to integrate the photodetector and its peripheral circuits on the same chip. In this paper, we have fabricated APDs of different sizes and their driving circuits in a commercial 0.18-mum CMOS technology. The APDs are theoretically analyzed, measured, and the results are interpreted. Excellent breakdown performance is measured for the 10 and 20 m APDs at 10.2 V. The APD system is compared to the previous implementations in standard CMOS. Our APD has a 5.5% peak probability of detection of a photon at an excess bias of 2 V, and a 30 ns dead time, which is better than the previously reported results.