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Photon-Counting Integrated Circuit (PCIC) Photodetector Arrays

Principal Investigator: Ted L. Roush

Technological improvements in sensors available to NASA have a significant cross-cutting impact for an array of NASA instruments measuring over a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Improvements of detector performance would cause a significant shift in capability.
The commonly used avalanche photodiode (APD) boosts the signal level of input optical power. However, high avalanche excess noise and extreme sensitivity to bias voltage makes it very difficult to achieve high gain or gain uniformity across an APD 2-D focal plane array, let alone the Geiger recovery time. The PCIC is an enabling technology potentially providing for greater detector sensitivity in a wide range of thermal and radiation environments.