Design and characterisation of SPAD based CMOS analog pixels for photon-counting applications

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 4 Research NOT TU/e / Graduation NOT TU/e)


Recent advancements in biomedical research and imaging applications have ignited an intense interest in single-photon detection. Along with single-photon resolution, nanosecond or sub-nanosecond timing resolution and high sensitivity of the device must be achieved at the same time. Single- Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPADs) have proved their prospectives in terms of shot-noise limited operation, excellent timing resolution and wide spec- tral range. Nonetheless, the performance of recently presented SPAD based arrays has an issue of low detection efficiency by reason of the area on the substrate occupied by additional processing electronics.
This dissertation presents the design and experimental characteriza- tion of a few compact analog readout circuits for SPAD based arrays. Tar- geting the applications where the spatial resolution is the key requirement, the work is focused on the circuit compactness, that is, pixel fill factor re- finement. Consisting of only a few transistors, the proposed structures are remarkable for a small area occupation. This significant advancement has been achieved with the analog implementation of the additional circuitry instead of standard digital approach. Along with the compactness, the dis- tinguishing features of the circuits are low power consumption, low output non-linearity and pixel-to-pixel non-uniformity. In addition, experimental results on a time-gated operation have proved feasibility of a sub-nanosecond time window.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Trento
  • Dalla Betta, Gian Franco, Promotor, External person
Award date15 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CMOS, SPAD, image sensor, analog circuit, readout electronics

Promotion : time and place

  • Trento, Italy


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