Single Photon Avalanche Diodes for space applications
Marisaldi, Martino ; Maccagnani, Piera ; Moscatelli, Francesco ; ...Rubini, Danilo ; et al.
Oct - 2011
ISSN : 1082-3654 ;
Event Title :
Published in:
type: Conference Proceedings

We study the possibility to use Single Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPADs) optically coupled to scintillating fibers as a novel type of gamma-ray detector for space applications. SPADs are silicon devices operating under polarization conditions above the junction breakdown voltage (typical overvoltage of 5V), for which a single photon interacting in the active region is sufficient to trigger a self sustainable avalanche discharge. SPADs can thus be used for the detection of very low light levels with an absolute timing accuracy of about 30 ps for single photon detection, without spectroscopic capabilities. In this presentation we report the preliminary results on large area SPAD (actual results refers to SPADs having 200 \mum diameter, with the aim to grow up to 500 \mum SPADs) coupled to scintillating fibers as the basic module for a particle tracker for space application. Dark counts rate as low as few tens of kHz at room temperature, lowering down to few kHz at -10°C have been obtained for the 200 \mum devices, in accordance with the basic requirements for the proposed application. Similar instruments based on silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) readout have already been studied, but none based on SPAD has been realized up to now. Moreover, since very few information is available on SPADs for the use in a space environment, we performed bulk damage and total dose radiation tests with protons and gamma-rays in order to evaluate their radiation hardness properties and their suitability for application in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space mission. With this aim the SPAD devices have be irradiated using up to 20 krad total dose with gamma-rays and 5 krad with protons.

keywords : Biomedical optical imaging,Detectors,Integrated optics,LEO space mission,Low Earth Orbit,Optical fiber devices,Optical sensors,Photonics,Sensitivity,SiPM readout,avalanche diodes,dark count rate,gamma-ray detector,junction breakdown voltage,photomultipliers,scintillating fibers,scintillation counters,self sustainable avalanche discharge,silicon devices,silicon photomultiplier,silicon radiation detectors,single photon avalanche diodes,space applications,spectroscopic capabilities,total dose radiation tests