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SBIR/STTR

InGaAs Photomultiplier Chip photon counting array for 1550 nm operation, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The development of a robust approach for Deep Space Optical Communications is critical to future space missions as communication bandwidth requirements are expected to dramatically increase due to continuing improvements in sensor spectral coverage and resolution. Current solutions do not meet NASAs goals for sensitivity, timing resolution, and data rate. Furthermore, many of the current solutions require cryocooling, which significantly impacts size, weight, and power, as well as reliability. LightSpin Technologies proposes the development of a new generation of single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array devices to fulfill NASA requirements. The innovation includes a new planar processing technology, enabling tight pitch SPAD arrays to be built, mitigating after pulsing and dead time limitations. Furthermore, we propose to use InAlAs gain regions, which have significant advantages due to its avalanche breakdown characteristics and wider band gap compared to InP. The net result at the end of Phase II will be a Photomultiplier Chip SPAD array device incorporating thousands of small area SPAD devices in parallel, enabling precision detection of single photons with sub 100 picosecond timing resolution and maximum count rates in excess of 10 Gcps. More »

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