A. Lenart, S. Sivasankaran, D.K.L. Oi, A. Ling, P. Neilson, B. Hidding
Submitted to ArXiv on 1 September 2022
Space based quantum technologies are essential building blocks for global quantum networks. However, the optoelectronic components and devices used are susceptible to radiation damage. The SpooQy-1 CubeSat mission demonstrated polarization-based quantum entanglement correlations using avalanche photodiodes for single-photon detection. We report the increasing dark count rates of two silicon Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes (GM-APD) observed throughout its 2 year orbital lifetime. As a means of diagnosing the unexpected trends in the increase of dark counts, we implement a high-fidelity radiation model combined with 3D computer aided design models of the SpooQy-1 CubeSat to estimate the accumulated displacement damage dose in each photodiode. Using these results, we were able to support the claim that differences in radiation shielding was a major contributor to the observed in-orbit data. This illustrates how radiation modelling can have applications beyond conventional lifetime estimates for low-earth orbit CubeSats.