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Sensors 2016, 16(4), 459; doi:10.3390/s16040459

Single-Photon Avalanche Diode with Enhanced NIR-Sensitivity for Automotive LIDAR Systems

Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc., 41-1, Yokomichi, Nagakute, Aichi 480-1192, Japan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nobukazu Teranishi
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photon-Counting Image Sensors)
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Abstract

A single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) with enhanced near-infrared (NIR) sensitivity has been developed, based on 0.18 μm CMOS technology, for use in future automotive light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems. The newly proposed SPAD operating in Geiger mode achieves a high NIR photon detection efficiency (PDE) without compromising the fill factor (FF) and a low breakdown voltage of approximately 20.5 V. These properties are obtained by employing two custom layers that are designed to provide a full-depletion layer with a high electric field profile. Experimental evaluation of the proposed SPAD reveals an FF of 33.1% and a PDE of 19.4% at 870 nm, which is the laser wavelength of our LIDAR system. The dark count rate (DCR) measurements shows that DCR levels of the proposed SPAD have a small effect on the ranging performance, even if the worst DCR (12.7 kcps) SPAD among the test samples is used. Furthermore, with an eye toward vehicle installations, the DCR is measured over a wide temperature range of 25–132 °C. The ranging experiment demonstrates that target distances are successfully measured in the distance range of 50–180 cm. View Full-Text
Keywords: avalanche photodiodes; light detection and ranging (LIDAR); single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD); time-of-flight (TOF); depth sensor; rangefinder; 3-D imaging; single-photon detector; advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) avalanche photodiodes; light detection and ranging (LIDAR); single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD); time-of-flight (TOF); depth sensor; rangefinder; 3-D imaging; single-photon detector; advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Takai, I.; Matsubara, H.; Soga, M.; Ohta, M.; Ogawa, M.; Yamashita, T. Single-Photon Avalanche Diode with Enhanced NIR-Sensitivity for Automotive LIDAR Systems. Sensors 2016, 16, 459.

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