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SPAD Smart Pixel for Time-of-Flight and Time-Correlated Single-Photon Counting Measurements

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11 Author(s)
F. Villa$^{1}$Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy ; B. Markovic ; S. Bellisai ; D. Bronzi
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We present a smart pixel based on a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) for advanced time-of-flight (TOF) and time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) applications, fabricated in a cost-effective 0.35- m CMOS technology. The large CMOS detector (30- m active area diameter) shows very low noise (12 counts per second at room temperature at 5-V excess bias) and high efficiency in a wide wavelength range (about 50% at 410 nm and still 5% at 800 nm). The analog front-end electronics promptly senses and quenches the avalanche, thus leading to an almost negligible afterpulsing effect. The in-pixel 10-bit time-to-digital converter (TDC) provides 312-ps resolution and 320-ns full-scale range (FSR), i.e., 10-cm single-shot spatial resolution within 50-m depth range in a TOF system. The in-pixel 10-bit memory and output buffers make this smart pixel the viable building block for advanced single-photon imager arrays for 3-D depth ranging in safety and security applications and for 2-D fluorescence lifetime decays in biomedical imaging.

Published in:

IEEE Photonics Journal  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )