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Sensors 2018, 18(4), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18041166

High Dynamic Range Imaging at the Quantum Limit with Single Photon Avalanche Diode-Based Image Sensors

1
STMicroelectronics Imaging Division, Tanfield, Edinburgh EH3 5DA, UK
2
School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
This paper is an expanded version of our published paper: Dutton, N.A.W.; Al Abbas, T.; Gyongy, I.; Henderson, R.K. Extending the Dynamic Range of Oversampled Binary SPAD Image Sensors In Proceedings of the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop, Hiroshima, Japan, 30 May–2 June 2017; P07.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special Issue on the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW))
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Abstract

This paper examines methods to best exploit the High Dynamic Range (HDR) of the single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) in a high fill-factor HDR photon counting pixel that is scalable to megapixel arrays. The proposed method combines multi-exposure HDR with temporal oversampling in-pixel. We present a silicon demonstration IC with 96 × 40 array of 8.25 µm pitch 66% fill-factor SPAD-based pixels achieving >100 dB dynamic range with 3 back-to-back exposures (short, mid, long). Each pixel sums 15 bit-planes or binary field images internally to constitute one frame providing 3.75× data compression, hence the 1k frames per second (FPS) output off-chip represents 45,000 individual field images per second on chip. Two future projections of this work are described: scaling SPAD-based image sensors to HDR 1 MPixel formats and shrinking the pixel pitch to 1–3 µm. View Full-Text
Keywords: single photon avalanche diode (SPAD); high dynamic range; HDR; CMOS image sensor; CIS; single photon counting; SPC; HDR SPC; quanta image sensor; QIS; spatio-temporal oversampling single photon avalanche diode (SPAD); high dynamic range; HDR; CMOS image sensor; CIS; single photon counting; SPC; HDR SPC; quanta image sensor; QIS; spatio-temporal oversampling
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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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Dutton, N.A.; Al Abbas, T.; Gyongy, I.; Mattioli Della Rocca, F.; Henderson, R.K. High Dynamic Range Imaging at the Quantum Limit with Single Photon Avalanche Diode-Based Image Sensors. Sensors 2018, 18, 1166.

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