High-Performance Back-Illuminated Three-Dimensional Stacked Single-Photon Avalanche Diode Implemented in 45-nm CMOS Technology

Myung Jae Lee, Augusto Ronchini Ximenes, Preethi Padmanabhan, Tzu Jui Wang, Kuo Chin Huang, Yuichiro Yamashita, Dun Nian Yaung, Edoardo Charbon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


We present a high-performance back-illuminated three-dimensional stacked single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD), which is implemented in 45-nm CMOS technology for the first time. The SPAD is based on a P+/Deep N-well junction with a circular shape, for which N-well is intentionally excluded to achieve a wide depletion region, thus enabling lower tunneling noise and better timing jitter as well as a higher photon detection efficiency and a wider spectrum. In order to prevent premature edge breakdown, a P-type guard ring is formed at the edge of the junction, and it is optimized to achieve a wider photon-sensitive area. In addition, metal-1 is used as a light reflector to improve the detection efficiency further in backside illumination. With the optimized 3-D stacked 45-nm CMOS technology for back-illuminated image sensors, the proposed SPAD achieves a dark count rate of 55.4 cps/μm2 and a photon detection probability of 31.8% at 600 nm and over 5% in the 420-920 nm wavelength range. The jitter is 107.7 ps full width at half-maximum with negligible exponential diffusion tail at 2.5 V excess bias voltage at room temperature. To the best of our knowledge, these are the best results ever reported for any back-illuminated 3-D stacked SPAD technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8338386
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Avalanche photodiode (APD)
  • CMOS image sensor
  • detector
  • Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (G-APD)
  • image sensor
  • integrated optics device
  • integrated photonics
  • light detection and ranging (LiDAR)
  • low light level
  • optical sensor
  • photodiode
  • photomultiplier
  • photon counting
  • photon timing
  • semiconductor
  • sensor
  • silicon
  • single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD)
  • single-photon imaging
  • standard CMOS technology
  • three-dimensional fabrication
  • three-dimensional vision

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