Fiona E. Thorburn, Laura L. Huddleston, Jarosław Kirdoda, Ross W. Millar, Lourdes Ferre-Llin, Xin Yi, Douglas J. Paul, Gerald S. Buller, “High efficiency planar geometry germanium-on-silicon single-photon avalanche diode detectors,” Proc. SPIE 11386, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XIV, 113860N (18 May 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2559620
This paper presents the performance of 26 μm and 50 µm diameter planar Ge-on Si single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detectors. The addition of germanium in these detectors extends the spectral range into the short-wave infrared (SWIR) region, beyond the capability of already well-established Si SPAD devices. There are several advantages for extending the spectral range into the SWIR region including: reduced eye-safety laser threshold, greater attainable ranges, and increased depth resolution in range finding applications, in addition to the enhanced capability to image through obscurants such as fog and smoke. The time correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) technique has been utilized to observe record low dark count rates, below 100 kHz at a temperature of 125 K for up to a 6.6 % excess bias, for the 26 µm diameter devices. Under identical experimental conditions, in terms of excess bias and temperature, the 50 µm diameter device consistently demonstrates dark count rates a factor of 4 times greater than 26 µm diameter devices, indicating that the dark count rate
is proportional to the device volume. Single-photon detection efficiencies of up to ~ 29 % were measured at a wavelength of 1310 nm at 125 K. Noise equivalent powers (NEP) down to 9.8 × 10-17 WHz-1/2 and jitters < 160 ps are obtainable, both significantly lower than previous 100 μm diameter planar geometry devices, demonstrating the potential of these devices for highly sensitive and high-speed imaging in the SWIR.