APD-Based IR Sensors Possess Accentuated Operational Performance

25 January 2024

Fabricated using InGaAs substrates, the newly-introduced Aura avalanche photodiodes (APDs) from Yorkshire start-up Phlux Technology provide significant differentiation over competing solutions.

With a 1550nm peak wavelength, these infrared (IR) sensing devices leverage the company’s proprietary Noiseless APD technology (in which an antimony alloy is added as part of the fabrication process). Consequently, they are able to deliver gains up to 120 - resulting in 12x greater sensitivity (0.98A/W at 1550nm) than best-in-class conventional InGaAs APDs. The upshot of this is that the operating range of vehicle LiDAR imaging systems, as well laser rangefinders and optical fibre test equipment, can be extended by as much as 50%. Conversely, major reductions in system size and cost can be witnessed by using lower power output lasers, without compromising on the previous system performance. Furthermore, a streamlining of the thermal management aspect is made possible, since these APDs have a working temperature range that reaches up to +85°C. Another attribute worth mentioning is the short overload recovery time exhibited. This allows these devices to pick up weaker secondary IR pulses soon after large pulses have been incident upon them. Aura APDs can be supplied in SMD, chip-on-submount (COS) or TO-46 packages. They are also available in a bare die format. 80µm and 200µm optical aperture versions can be specified. 

As Ben White, CEO of Phlux, explains; “Our Noiseless APD technology is a step-function leap in performance and provides tangible benefits for any company involved with 1550nm lasers. Automotive LiDAR is an exciting application where the move from 905nm to 1550nm lasers is accelerating, not least because the latter is ‘eye-safe’. But there are also huge opportunities for our products in telecommunications, laser rangefinders, imaging, spectroscopy, gas sensing and optical fibre test equipment, particularly optical time domain reflectometers.”

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