Design and Performance of Single Photon APD Focal Plane Arrays for 3-D LADAR Imaging


Itzler, M. A., Entwistle, M., Owens, M., Patel, K., Jiang, X., Slomkowski, K., … & Ferraro, J. (2010, August). Design and performance of single photon APD focal plane arrays for 3-D LADAR imaging. In Detectors and Imaging Devices: Infrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon (Vol. 7780, pp. 387-401). SPIE.


We describe the design, fabrication, and performance of focal plane arrays (FPAs) for use in 3-D LADAR imaging applications requiring single photon sensitivity. These 32 x 32 FPAs provide high-efficiency single photon sensitivity for three-dimensional LADAR imaging applications at 1064 nm. Our GmAPD arrays are designed using a planar passivated avalanche photodiode device platform with buried p-n junctions that has demonstrated excellent performance uniformity, operational stability, and long-term reliability. The core of the FPA is a chip stack formed by hybridizing the GmAPD photodiode array to a custom CMOS read-out integrated circuit (ROIC) and attaching a precision-aligned GaP microlens array (MLA) to the back-illuminated detector array. Each ROIC pixel includes an active quenching circuit governing Geiger-mode operation of the corresponding avalanche photodiode pixel as well as a pseudo-random counter to capture per-pixel time-of-flight timestamps in each frame. The FPA has been designed to operate at frame rates as high as 186 kHz for 2 µs range gates. Effective single photon detection efficiencies as high as 40% (including all optical transmission and MLA losses) are achieved for dark count rates below 20 kHz. For these planar-geometry diffused-junction GmAPDs, isolation trenches are used to reduce crosstalk due to hot carrier luminescence effects during avalanche events, and we present details of the crosstalk performance for different operating conditions. Direct measurement of temporal probability distribution functions due to cumulative timing uncertainties of the GmAPDs and ROIC circuitry has demonstrated a FWHM timing jitter as low as 265 ps (standard deviation is ~100 ps).

Keywords: avalanche photodiodes, single photon detector, photon counting, Geiger-mode APD, LADAR, threedimensional imaging, InP, InGaAsP

Read more from SRI