Design, characterization and analysis of a 0.35 μm CMOS SPAD

Sensors (Basel). 2014 Dec 1;14(12):22773-84. doi: 10.3390/s141222773.


Most of the works about single-photon detectors rely on Single Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPADs) designed with dedicated technological processes in order to achieve single-photon sensitivity and excellent timing resolution. Instead, this paper focuses on the implementation of high-performance SPADs detectors manufactured in a standard 0.35-micron opto-CMOS technology provided by AMS. We propose a series of low-noise SPADs designed with a variable pitch from 20 µm down to 5 µm. This opens the further way to the integration of large arrays of optimized SPAD pixels with pitch of a few micrometers in order to provide high-resolution single-photon imagers. We experimentally demonstrate that a 20-micron SPAD appears as the most relevant detector in terms of Signal-to-Noise ratio, enabling emergence of large arrays of SPAD.