Photon-Counting Monolithic Avalanche Photodiode Arrays for the Super Collider
In fiber tracking, calorimetry, and other high energy and nuclear physics experiments, the need arises to detect an optical signal consisting of a few photons (in some cases a single photoelectron) with a detector insensitive to magnetic fields. Previous attempts to detect a single photoelectron have involved avalanche photodiodes (APDs) operated in the Geiger mode , the visible light photon counter , and a photomultiplier tube with an APD as the anode . In this paper it is demonstrated that silicon APDs, biased below the breakdown voltage, can be used to detect a signal of a few photons with conventional pulse counting circuitry at room temperature. Moderate cooling, it is further argued, could make it possible to detect a single photoelectron.
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