A small array of single photon avalanche detectors (SPADs) has been designed and fabricated in a standard 0.18 μm CMOS process to test a new photon detecting system for optical communications. First numerical results are presented which show that using arrays of SPADs reduces the optical power density required at the receiver. Experimental results then show that the new system preserves the photon counting ability of the SPADs. Finally a simple method is presented which can be used to estimate the size of array needed to achieve a particular target bit error rate at a specific optical power density. Together these results indicate that by replacing the avalanche photodiode in a receiver with the new system it will be possible to count the received photons.
- mixed analog digital integrated circuits
- optical receivers
- poisson channels
- single photon avalanche diode