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InGaAs single photon sensing

We are demonstrating a new platform to achieve state-of-the-art performances in single photon sensing at near infrared (NIR) range.

To achieve this next generation system we are using plasmonic coupled InGaAs nanopillar single photon avalanche diodes (NP-SPADs) array as single photon sensors.

We will design, grow and fabricate the world’s first InGaAs NP-SPADs with Separate Absorption and Multiplication avalanche photodiode (SAM-APD) structure in close collaboration with the NanoMaterial Core Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). We will perform comprehensive characterisation including DCR, SPDE, after-pulsing, timing jitter and photon number resolution using a custom-designed characterisation setup. NP-SPAD testing will be done in real applications, including 3D imaging.

Traditional SPADs are limited by a large number of material defects, including a low operating rate. Our new platform will deliver low noise, low cost and photon number resolving ability that outperforms existing systems. We hope the platform will enable compact and low-cost eye-safe 3D imaging system for long-range detection, which in turn will benefit applications such as aerial mapping.


This project is funded by a Sêr Cymru Cofund Fellowship for three years.

The project team

Lead researcher

Image of Diana Huffaker

Professor Diana Huffaker

Scientific Director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors
Sêr Cymru Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials