Current students


Section: Electronics
Advisor: RECH IVAN

Major Research topic:
High performance electronic systems for multi-channel single photon detectors

The analysis of the optical signals plays a key role in many fields, ranging from biology and medicine to communication, scanning systems and security.
LIDAR scan methods measure the distance from a target by illuminating the target itself with a pulsed laser and by measuring the time of flight of reflected pulses with a suitable sensor.
Atmospheric Satellite LIDAR systems use a laser and a sensor on a satellite. By recording backscattered intensity versus time is possible to achieve information about molecules, aerosols, clouds, etc. along the light-pulse path. Scattering type can be retrieved from additional data like backscattering spectrum, polarization and color ratio. A challenge of ocean measurement is also to measure the light backscattered from plankton immediately below water surface.
An ultra-wide dynamic range (highest signal rate of 40 GigaPhotons/seconds) is required for signals recovered after different atmosphere path, sea surface and below sea plankton backscatter. Also a time resolution better than 10ns is needed.
This project aims at addressing these requirements by means of a time-resolved fully parallel array of Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPAD). Indeed SPAD systems provide high photon detection efficiency, rapid recovery from saturating light levels and a potentially good radiation hardness.
A first module is required in order to perform electro–optic characterization and irradiation tests to understand possible damage by radiation in space environment. Successively, to meet the high dynamic range requirements, a cooled larger array will be developed and fully characterized. The module will be based on a custom array of SPADs and a new Active Quenching Circuit (AQC) specifically designed for this application.
In conclusion, the aim of this project is the design and the development of a new Time-Resolved, Single-Photon detection head capable to overcome the current limits on Atmospheric Sensing by satellite LIDAR.