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We describe the design, characterization, and demonstration of a fully integrated single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) imager for use in time-resolved fluorescence imaging. The imager consists of a 64-by-64 array of active SPAD pixels and an on-chip time-to-digital converter (TDC) based on a delay-locked loop (DLL) and calibrated interpolators. The imager can perform both standard time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) and an alternative gated-window detection useful for avoiding pulse pile-up when measuring bright signal levels. To illustrate the use of the imager, we present measurements of the decay lifetimes of fluorescent dyes of several types with a timing resolution of 350 ps.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2008