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25 September 2012 Investigation of linear-mode photon-counting HgCdTe APDs for astronomical observations
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The unique linear avalanche properties of HgCdTe preserve the Poisson statistics of the incoming photons, opening up new opportunities for GHz bandwidth LADAR and space communications applications. Raytheon has developed and previously reported (1) unique linear mode photon counting arrays based on combining advanced HgCdTe linear mode APDs with their high gain SB415B readout. Their use of HgCdTe APDs preserves the Poisson statistics of the incoming photons, enabling (noiseless) photon counting. This technology is of great potential interest to infrared astronomy but requires extension of noiseless linear HgCdTe avalanching down to much lower bandwidths (100 to 0.001 Hz) with corresponding reductions in dark count rate. We have hybridized the SB415B readout to SWIR HgCdTe APDs optimized for low dark count rate and have characterized their photon counting properties at bandwidths down to 1 KHz. As bandwidth is reduced, the performance becomes limited by the intrinsic properties of the SB415B readout, particularly readout glow, stability and 1/f noise. We report the results of these measurements and the status of hybrid arrays utilizing a newly developed readout which draws on Raytheon’s astronomical readout heritage, specifically the Virgo charge integrating source follower, as a path to much lower dark count rate photon counting operation.
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Marta L. Bryan, George Chapman, Donald N. B. Hall, Michael D. Jack, Shane M. Jacobson, and Justin Wehner "Investigation of linear-mode photon-counting HgCdTe APDs for astronomical observations", Proc. SPIE 8453, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy V, 84532F (25 September 2012);

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