TH-CD-207B-07: Noise Modeling of Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) for Photon Counting CT Applications




Silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) has recently emerged as a promising photodetector for biomedical imaging applications. Due to its high multiplication gain (comparable to PMT), fast timing, low cost and compactness, it is considered a good candidate for photon counting CT. Dark noise is a limiting factor which impacts both energy resolution and detection dynamic range. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive model for noise sources for SiPM sensors.


The physical parameters used in this work were based upon a test SPAD fabricated in 130nm CMOS process. The SPAD uses an n+/p-well junction, which is isolated from the p-substrate by a deep n-well junction. Inter-avalanche time measurement was used to record the time interval between two adjacent avalanche pulses. After collecting 1×106 counts, the histogram was obtained and multiple exponential fitting process was used to extract the lifetime associated with the traps within the bandgap.


At room temperature, the breakdown voltage of the SPAD is ∼11.4V and shows a temperature coefficient of 7.7mV/°C. The dark noise of SPAD increases with both the excess biasing voltage and temperature. The primary dark counts from the model were validated against the measurement results. A maximum relative error of 8.7% is observed at 20 °C with an excess voltage of 0.5V. The probabilities of after-pulsing are found to be dependent of both temperature and excess voltage. With 0.5V excess voltage, the after-pulsing probability is 63.5% at - 30 °C and drops to ∼6.6% at 40 °C.


A comprehensive noise model for SPAD sensor was proposed. The model takes into account of static, dynamic and statistical behavior of SPADs. We believe that this is the first SPAD circuit simulation model that includes the band-to-band tunneling dark noise contribution and temporal dependence of the after-pulsing probability.