Time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) is a photon-efficient technique to record ultra-fast optical waveforms found in numerous applications such as time-of-flight (ToF) range measurement (LIDAR) [1], ToF 3D imaging [2], scanning optical microscopy [3], diffuse optical tomography (DOT) and Raman sensing [4]. Typical instrumentation consists of a pulsed laser source, a discrete detector such as an avalanche photodiode (APD) or photomultiplier tube (PMT), time-to-digital converter (TDC) card and a FPGA or PC to assemble and compute histograms of photon time stamps. Cost and size restrict the number of channels of TCSPC hardware. Having few detection and conversion channels, the technique is limited to processing optical waveforms with low intensity, with less than one returned photon per laser pulse, to avoid pile-up distortion [4]. However, many ultra-fast optical waveforms exhibit high dynamic range in the number of photons emitted per laser pulse. Examples are signals observed at close range in ToF with multiple reflections, diffuse reflected photons in DOT or local variations in fluorescent dye concentration in microscopy. This paper provides a single integrated chip that reduces conventional TCSPC pile-up mechanisms by an order of magnitude through ultra-parallel realizations of both photon detection and time-resolving hardware. A TDC architecture is presented which combines the two step iterated TCSPC process of time-code generation, followed by memory lookup, increment and write, into one parallel direct-to-histogram conversion. The sensor achieves 71.4ps resolution, over 18.85ns dynamic range, with 14GS/s throughput. The sensor can process 1.7Gphoton/s and generate 21k histograms/s (with 4.6μs readout time), each capturing a total of 1.7kphotons in a 1μs exposure.

11.5 A time-correlated single-photon-counting sensor with 14GS/S histogramming time-to-digital converter

Parmesan, Luca;
2015

Abstract

Time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) is a photon-efficient technique to record ultra-fast optical waveforms found in numerous applications such as time-of-flight (ToF) range measurement (LIDAR) [1], ToF 3D imaging [2], scanning optical microscopy [3], diffuse optical tomography (DOT) and Raman sensing [4]. Typical instrumentation consists of a pulsed laser source, a discrete detector such as an avalanche photodiode (APD) or photomultiplier tube (PMT), time-to-digital converter (TDC) card and a FPGA or PC to assemble and compute histograms of photon time stamps. Cost and size restrict the number of channels of TCSPC hardware. Having few detection and conversion channels, the technique is limited to processing optical waveforms with low intensity, with less than one returned photon per laser pulse, to avoid pile-up distortion [4]. However, many ultra-fast optical waveforms exhibit high dynamic range in the number of photons emitted per laser pulse. Examples are signals observed at close range in ToF with multiple reflections, diffuse reflected photons in DOT or local variations in fluorescent dye concentration in microscopy. This paper provides a single integrated chip that reduces conventional TCSPC pile-up mechanisms by an order of magnitude through ultra-parallel realizations of both photon detection and time-resolving hardware. A TDC architecture is presented which combines the two step iterated TCSPC process of time-code generation, followed by memory lookup, increment and write, into one parallel direct-to-histogram conversion. The sensor achieves 71.4ps resolution, over 18.85ns dynamic range, with 14GS/s throughput. The sensor can process 1.7Gphoton/s and generate 21k histograms/s (with 4.6μs readout time), each capturing a total of 1.7kphotons in a 1μs exposure.
978-1-4799-6223-5
978-1-4799-6224-2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11582/307577
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