The recent availability of miniaturized photon counting pixels in standard CMOS processes has paved the way to the introduction of photon counting in low-cost image sensors. The uses of these devices are multifold, ranging from LIDARs to Raman spectroscopy, from fluorescence lifetime to molecular imaging, from super-resolution microscopy to data security and encryption.
In this talk we describe the technology at the core of this revolution: single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) and the architectures enabling SPAD based image sensors. We discuss tradeoffs and design trends, often referring to specific sensor chips, new materials for extended sensitivity, and 3D integration for ultra-high speed operation. We also discuss the recent impact of SPAD cameras in metrology, robotics, mobile phones, and consumer electronics.
Edoardo Charbon (SM'10) received the Diploma from ETH Zürich in 1988, the M.S. degree from UCSD in 1991, and the Ph.D. degree from UC-Berkeley in 1995, all in Electrical Engineering and EECS. From 1995 to 2000, he was with Cadence Design Systems, where he was the architect of the company's intellectual property protection and on-chip information hiding tools; from 2000 to 2002, he was Canesta Inc.'s Chief Architect, leading the design of consumer time-of-flight 3D cameras; Canesta was sold to Microsoft Corp. in 2010. Since November 2002, he has been a member of the Faculty of EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland and in Fall 2008 he joined the Faculty of TU Delft, Chair of VLSI Design, succeeding Patrick Dewilde. Dr. Charbon is the initiator and coordinator of MEGAFRAME and SPADnet, two major European projects for the creation of CMOS photon counting image sensors in biomedical diagnostics. He has published over 250 articles in peer-reviewed technical journals and conference proceedings and two books, and he holds 18 patents. Dr. Charbon is the co-recipient of the European Photonics Innovation V.