Note: Fully integrated time-to-amplitude converter in Si-Ge technology

Crotti, M.; Rech, I.; Ghioni, M.
October 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Oct2010, Vol. 81 Issue 10, p106103
Academic Journal
Over the past years an always growing interest has arisen about the measurement technique of time-correlated single photon counting TCSPC), since it allows the analysis of extremely fast and weak light waveforms with a picoseconds resolution. Consequently, many applications exploiting TCSPC have been developed in several fields such as medicine and chemistry. Moreover, the development of multianode PMT and of single photon avalanche diode arrays led to the realization of acquisition systems with several parallel channels to employ the TCSPC technique in even more applications. Since TCSPC basically consists of the measurement of the arrival time of a photon, the most important part of an acquisition chain is the time measurement block, which must have high resolution and low differential nonlinearity, and in order to realize multidimensional systems, it has to be integrated to reduce both cost and area. In this paper we present a fully integrated time-to-amplitude converter, built in 0.35 μm Si-Ge technology, characterized by a good time resolution (60 ps), low differential nonlinearity (better than 3% peak to peak), high counting rate (16 MHz), low and constant power dissipation (40 mW), and low area occupation (1.38×1.28 mm2).


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