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Article

High Dynamic Range Imaging with TDC-Based CMOS SPAD Arrays

1
Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Center for Material and Microsystems (CMM), 38123 Trento, Italy
2
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Instruments 2019, 3(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3030038
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 7 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Single-Photon Detection Instrumentation and Applications)
This paper investigates the use of image sensors based on complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) in high dynamic range (HDR) imaging by combining photon counts and timestamps. The proposed method is validated experimentally with an SPAD detector based on a per-pixel time-to-digital converter (TDC) architecture. The detector, featuring 32 × 32 pixels with 44.64-µm pitch, 19.48% fill factor, and time-resolving capability of ~295-ps, was fabricated in a 150-nm CMOS standard technology. At high photon flux densities, the pixel output is saturated when operating in photon-counting mode, thus limiting the DR of this imager. This limitation can be overcome by exploiting the distribution of photon arrival times in each pixel, which shows an exponential behavior with a decay rate dependent on the photon flux level. By fitting the histogram curve with the exponential decay function, the extracted time constant is used to estimate the photon count. This approach achieves 138.7-dB dynamic range within 30-ms of integration time, and can be further extended by using a timestamping mechanism with a higher resolution. View Full-Text
Keywords: single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD); high dynamic range (HDR); imager; photon counting; time-to-digital converter (TDC); photon arrival time single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD); high dynamic range (HDR); imager; photon counting; time-to-digital converter (TDC); photon arrival time
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zarghami, M.; Gasparini, L.; Perenzoni, M.; Pancheri, L. High Dynamic Range Imaging with TDC-Based CMOS SPAD Arrays. Instruments 2019, 3, 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3030038

AMA Style

Zarghami M, Gasparini L, Perenzoni M, Pancheri L. High Dynamic Range Imaging with TDC-Based CMOS SPAD Arrays. Instruments. 2019; 3(3):38. https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3030038

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zarghami, Majid, Leonardo Gasparini, Matteo Perenzoni, and Lucio Pancheri. 2019. "High Dynamic Range Imaging with TDC-Based CMOS SPAD Arrays" Instruments 3, no. 3: 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3030038

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