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Avalanche photodiodes used in Geiger mode as single-photon counters have become very attractive imaging tools. High-speed single-photon imaging can be used in very low-light-level applications such as surveillance and security imaging, quantum computing, and biomedical imaging including bioluminescence and fluorescence lifetime imaging. However, a typical avalanche-based single-photon detector cannot offer the high dynamic range that is needed for many biomedical and surveillance applications. In this paper, we show how a single-photon detector can be used in time domain for high-dynamic-range applications. We also discuss novel techniques to implement the time-domain single-photon imager in mainstream deep-submicrometer CMOS technology. The designed imager offers high dynamic range and high sensitivity, while maintaining high-speed operation and low cost.
Date of Publication: April 2011