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III-V single photon avalanche detector with built-in negative feedback for NIR photon detection

Abstract

Single photon detector is the key component in many applications. Extensive research has been focused on developing novel Single Photon Avalanche Detectors (SPADs) to improve the device performance. This dissertation presents the first III-V single photon avalanche detector with built-in negative feedback mechanism. This new type of device has several advantageous features compared to the conventional III-V SPADs. The development of such devices has evolved from the InGaAs MOS-SPADs to the InGaAs Transient Carrier Buffer (TCB) SPADs. In general, to detect single photons, a conventional Geiger mode APD is biased above its breakdown voltage and an external quenching circuit or gated mode operation is required to prevent the device from thermal run-away. Benefiting from the negative feedback, the prototype device of the InGaAs TCB SPADs has successfully demonstrated the true free- running single photon detection at 1.55um wavelength without using any external quenching circuit or gated mode operation. This could greatly simplify the complexity of the SPAD supporting circuit and be especially beneficial for the applications for which large scale single photon array detector is required. The prototype device also has demonstrated a record low excess noise factor of 1.001 at a gain of 106. With such low excess noise, this type of devices becomes also promising for photon number resolving applications. This dissertation also provides a physical model to describe the self-quenching and self-recovering process of the InGaAs TCB SPADs. The model couples the negative feedback mechanism with the impact ionization process and has the capability to simulate the key device characteristics even when the device is biased above its breakdown condition, where most commercial device simulators have failed to simulate. Lastly, this dissertation describes a frequency up-conversion scheme based on the hot-carrier radiative recombination in the multiplication region of InGaAs TCB SPADs. Preliminary experimental results suggest this new method could be potentially used for near infrared single photon imagers with high resolution

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