WP4 – Sensor & Source Technology

Work Package 4 – Sensor & Source Technology

What’s inside our camera that can image invisible gases? What enables our Hidden Object Tracker camera to see around corners?

Work Package 4 – Sensor and Source Technology, focusses on the development and delivery of
quantum and classical correlated source technologies, single-photon sensitive imaging and timing arrays and electronic time-position readout technologies that supports and complements the implementation of the imaging systems and sensors in QuantIC’s other work packages. These include components such as ultrafast visible band Si-based single-photon avalanche detectors and arrays, and new detector and source technologies to expand from the visible into the shortwave and mid infrared bands.

QuantIC’s engineers have designed new CMOS SPAD arrays – the “QuantiCam” camera sensor (Parks, S et al, International Image Sensor Workshop, 2015), with higher fill factor that have improved performances of the “light-in-flight” and “Hidden Object Tracker” demonstrators in Work Package 2. It has also potential for enhancing imaging systems that deal with spectroscopy, positron imaging tomography, laser ranging, and quantum key distribution. An industry partnership project is currently underway with Horiba Jobin Yvon to build the sensor in a microscopy system.

Superconducting technologies hold promise in a wide range of sectors: magnets for MRI, power transmission, computing and quantum technologies but a key problem which has held back uptake has been the cryogenic operation without the use of hazardous and expensive liquid cryogen. QuantIC’s researchers are working on delivering the world’s first superconducting single photon detector system based around a miniaturised 4K cryostat (Natarajan, C et al, Superconductor Science and Technology, 25, 063001 (2012)) which will address these issues.

QuantIC’s “Led-by-LED” (Herrnsdorf, J et al. IEEE Photonics Conference, 28-29, 2015) is the next generation of LED micro-displays that can transmit data and track objects in a room or on a microscope slide and has potential applications in providing GPS indoors in public building as well as multiple access in optical wireless networks. The micro LED arrays are energy efficient and can be embedded into future lighting and data communications infrastructure. Our researchers are currently working with Aralia Systems on an industrial partnership project to develop a photometric stereo imaging system with visible LED sources to be employed in video surveillance installations.

We have also made advances in our single-pixel Ge-on-Si SPADS with a 1000 fold reduction in surface trapped charge density. These will operate efficiently in the near-infrared and will provide the much needed compatibility with silicon photonics circuitry, enabling full on chip detection in the infrared for the first time.

“IndiPix” is QuantIC’s indium antimonide (InSb) avalanche photodetector (APD) (Pusino, V et al, Microelectronic Engineering, 153,11-14, 2016) that will provide higher speed, lower noise and superior sensitivity and is fabricated on a Gallium Arsenide platform. The component will help to develop the world’s first active pixel mid-ID camera sensor.