High efficiency, planar geometry germanium-on-silicon single-photon avalanche diode detectors

Fiona E. Thorburn, Laura L. Huddleston, Jarosław Kirdoda, Ross W. Millar, Lourdes Ferre-Llin, Xin Yi, Douglas J. Paul, Gerald S. Buller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques XIV
EditorsMark A. Itzler, Joshua C. Bienfang, K. Alex McIntosh
ISBN (Electronic)9781510635500
ISBN (Print)9781510635494
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020
EventAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques XIV 2020 - None, United States
Duration: 27 Apr 20208 May 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceAdvanced Photon Counting Techniques XIV 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Avalanche photodiodes
  • Lidar
  • Photodetectors
  • Single-photon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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