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Journal Articles CEAS Space Journal Year : 2017

HgCdTe APDs for time-resolved space applications


The use of HgCdTe avalanche photodiodes (APDs) for resolving the temporal variation of faint light level signals is analyzed. The analysis is based on the performance characteristics such as the gain, the response time, and dark currents in the APDs, measured as a function of operating temperature and Cd composition, and on recently developed detector demonstrator modules. The choice of Cd composition in the APDs is strongly dependent on the application needs in terms of electrical bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio. A performance model has been developed and used to predict the performance of the future detector modules for different applications such as high bandwidth and/or deep space free space optical telecommunications and lidar, associated with sensitivities down to single photon level at low operating temperature and close to single-photon operation at bandwidth of 10 GHz at room temperature. The predictions are corroborated by the results obtained on detector modules that have been developed and used in lidar and deep space optical communications. In a first lidar prototype, integrating a 200 µm APD, we obtained a maximum sensitivity of 25 fW/√Hz at T = 190 K operating temperature. The detector has been used for differential absorption lidar estimations of the absorption due to presence of CO2 in the atmosphere. A random error of 3-10% was obtained for the estimation of the optical thickness at a distance of 100-3000 m, for a range resolution of 100 m and using and averaging time of 4 s. The pursuit of this development is pending on the space qualification of the technology. Results from first proton and irradiation tests are reported that shows on a close to constant performance during and after the irradiation and endurance tests.
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Dates and versions

insu-03727040 , version 1 (19-07-2022)



J. Rothman, G. Lasfargues, B. Delacourt, A. Dumas, F. Gibert, et al.. HgCdTe APDs for time-resolved space applications. CEAS Space Journal, 2017, 9, pp.507-516. ⟨10.1007/s12567-017-0169-1⟩. ⟨insu-03727040⟩
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