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Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1294; doi:10.3390/s16081294

Development of Gated Pinned Avalanche Photodiode Pixels for High-Speed Low-Light Imaging

KU Leuven, ESAT, Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Imec, Kapeldreef 75, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Albert Theuwissen
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 8 August 2016 / Accepted: 10 August 2016 / Published: 15 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photon-Counting Image Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4160 KB, uploaded 15 August 2016]   |  


This work explores the benefits of linear-mode avalanche photodiodes (APDs) in high-speed CMOS imaging as compared to different approaches present in literature. Analysis of APDs biased below their breakdown voltage employed in single-photon counting mode is also discussed, showing a potentially interesting alternative to existing Geiger-mode APDs. An overview of the recently presented gated pinned avalanche photodiode pixel concept is provided, as well as the first experimental results on a 8 × 16 pixel test array. Full feasibility of the proposed pixel concept is not demonstrated; however, informative data is obtained from the sensor operating under −32 V substrate bias and clearly exhibiting wavelength-dependent gain in frontside illumination. The readout of the chip designed in standard 130 nm CMOS technology shows no dependence on the high-voltage bias. Readout noise level of 15 e - rms, full well capacity of 8000 e - , and the conversion gain of 75 µV / e - are extracted from the photon-transfer measurements. The gain characteristics of the avalanche junction are characterized on separate test diodes showing a multiplication factor of 1.6 for red light in frontside illumination. View Full-Text
Keywords: APD; avalanche photodiode; CIS; CMOS; high-speed; image sensor; PAPD; pinned; pixel APD; avalanche photodiode; CIS; CMOS; high-speed; image sensor; PAPD; pinned; pixel

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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Resetar, T.; De Munck, K.; Haspeslagh, L.; Rosmeulen, M.; Süss, A.; Puers, R.; Van Hoof, C. Development of Gated Pinned Avalanche Photodiode Pixels for High-Speed Low-Light Imaging. Sensors 2016, 16, 1294.

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