Vision has always been one of the most important cognitive tools of human beings. In this regard, the development of image sensors opens up the potential to view objects that our eyes cannot see. One of the most promising capability in some image sensors is their single-photon sensitivity that provides information at the ultimate fundamental limit of light. Time-resolved single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) image sensors bring a new dimension as they measure the arrival time of incident photons with a precision in the order of hundred picoseconds. In addition to this characteristic, they can be fabricated in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology enabling the integration of complex signal processing blocks at the pixel level. These unique features made CMOS SPAD sensors a prime candidate for a broad spectrum of applications. This thesis is dedicated to the optimization and characterization of quantum imagers based on the SPADs as part of the E.U. funded SUPERTWIN project to surpass the fundamental diffraction limit known as the Rayleigh limit by exploiting the spatio-temporal correlation of entangled photons. The first characterized sensor is a 32×32-pixel SPAD array, named “SuperEllen”, with in-pixel time-to-digital converters (TDC) that measure the spatial cross-correlation functions of a flux of entangled photons. Each pixel features 19.48% fill-factor (FF) in 44.64-μm pitch fabricated in a 150-nm CMOS standard technology. The sensor is fully characterized in several electro-optical experiments, in order to be used in quantum imaging measurements. Moreover, the chip is calibrated in terms of coincidence detection achieving the minimal coincidence window determined by the SPAD jitter. The second developed sensor in the context of SUPERTWIN project is a 224×272-pixel SPAD-based array called “SuperAlice”, a multi-functional image sensor fabricated in a 110-nm CMOS image sensor technology. SuperAlice can operate in multiple modes (time-resolving or photon counting or binary imaging mode). Thanks to the digital intrinsic nature of SPAD imagers, they have an inherent capability to achieve a high frame rate. However, running at high frame rate means high I/O power consumption and thus inefficient handling of the generated data, as SPAD arrays are employed for low light applications in which data are very sparse over time and space. Here, we present three zero-suppression mechanisms to increase the frame rate without adversely affecting power consumption. A row-skipping mechanism that is implemented in both SuperEllen and SuperAlice detects the absence of SPAD activity in a row to increase the duty cycle. A current-based mechanism implemented in SuperEllen ignores reading out a full frame when the number of triggered pixels is less than a user-defined value. A different zero-suppression technique is developed in the SuperAlice chip that is based on jumping through the non-zero pixels within one row. The acquisition of TDC-based SPAD imagers can be speeded up further by storing and processing events inside the chip without the need to read out all data. An on-chip histogramming architecture based on analog counters is developed in a 150-nm CMOS standard technology. The test structure is a 16-bin histogram with 9 bit depth for each bin. SPAD technology demonstrates its capability in other applications such as automotive that demands high dynamic range (HDR) imaging. We proposed two methods based on processing photon arrival times to create HDR images. The proposed methods are validated experimentally with SuperEllen obtaining >130 dB dynamic range within 30 ms of integration time and can be further extended by using a timestamping mechanism with a higher resolution.
Characterization, calibration, and optimization of time-resolved CMOS single-photon avalanche diode image sensor / Zarghami, Majid. - (2020 Sep 02), pp. 1-107.
|Titolo:||Characterization, calibration, and optimization of time-resolved CMOS single-photon avalanche diode image sensor|
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2020-09-02|
|Struttura:||Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale|
|Corso di dottorato:||Materials, Mechatronics and Systems Engineering|
|Supervisore aggiunto/Correlatore esterno:||Co-advisor: M. Perenzoni|
|Tesi in cotutela:||no|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.15168/11572_273463|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||08.1 Tesi di dottorato (Doctoral Thesis)|
File in questo prodotto:
|phd_unitn_majid_zarghami.pdf||PhD thesis||Tesi di dottorato (Doctoral Thesis)||Tutti i diritti riservati (All rights reserved)||Administrator|