SBIR Phase II: Development of High Performance Ultraviolet Single Photon Detectors

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
USC, Inc.
New Brunswick Technology Center, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Petre Alexandrov
(732) 565-9500
Business Contact:
Petre Alexandrov
(732) 565-9500
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II research project aims to carry out the major R&D work to fully develop a 4H-SiC Single Photon Avalanche Detectors (SPADs) capable of ultra-sensitive and reliable room temperature single photon counting in the ultraviolet (UV) range with high efficiency for a wide range of applications. Existing commercial semiconductor UV avalanche photo detectors (APDs) suffer from high-dark count due to the fundamental material limitation. Unlike other wide band gap semiconductors, 4H-SiC has intrinsically more than an order of magnitude disparity in the electron and hole impact ionization coefficients, making it ideally suited for APDs and SPADs which require, as a key performance parameter, ultra low excess noise. The major research efforts will be focused on the novel design of the 4H-SiC SPADs and the development of the processing technology to manufacture the SPADs in both single element and in linear array forms. The goals are to achieve drastically improved dark count rate, quantum efficiency, and photon counting rate in comparison to the results achieved in Phase I. Success of the project will have significant impact to the scientific understanding of cryptography for secure UV free-space communication, of fundamental quantum mechanics of single photon-molecular interaction, and of astronomy and space exploration. The results of the project are expected to lead to commercial products including hand-held or field-portable compact UV analyzers with single-molecule unmatched sensitivity, UV spectroscopy and fluorescence systems for pharmaceutical /drug development, and biowarfare agent detection. Ultra-sensitive UV and Deep UV detectors will find immediate applications in both civilian and defense industries for radar and missile detection systems, for scientific and measurement instruments and OEM, for non-invasive underground oil and mine detection and profiling, for safety protection industry (food protection, utility and power system protection/electrical arc detection, engine and fire/flame sensing and control) and for UV imaging/UV camera as well as radiative and space applications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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