Abstract

Single-photon detectors (SPDs) play important roles in highly sensitive detection applications, such as fluorescence spectroscopy, remote sensing and ranging, deep space optical communications, elementary particle detection, and quantum communications. However, the adverse conditions in space, such as the increased radiation flux and thermal vacuum, severely limit their noise performances, reliability, and lifetime. Herein, we present the example of spaceborne, low-noise, high reliability SPDs, based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) silicon avalanche photodiodes (APD). Based on the high noise-radiation sensitivity of silicon APD, we have developed special shielding structures, multistage cooling technologies, and configurable driver electronics that significantly improved the COTS APD reliability and mitigated the SPD noise-radiation sensitivity. This led to a reduction of the expected in-orbit radiation-induced dark count rate (DCR) increment rate from ∼219 counts per second (cps) per day to ∼0.76 cps/day. During a continuous period of continuous operations in orbit which spanned of 1029 days, the SPD DCR was maintained below 1000 cps, i.e., the actual in-orbit radiation-induced DCR increment rate was ∼0.54 cps/day, i.e., two orders of magnitude lower than those evoked by previous technologies, while its photon detection efficiency was > 45%. Our spaceborne, low-noise SPDs established a feasible satellite-based up-link quantum communication that was validated on the quantum experiment science satellite platform. Moreover, our SPDs open new windows of opportunities for space research and applications in deep-space optical communications, single-photon laser ranging, as well as for testing the fundamental principles of physics in space.

© 2019 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement

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2018 (2)

P. Jianwei, “Progress of the quantum experiment science satellite (QUESS) Micius project,” 空间科学学报 38, 604–609 (2018).

A. W. Ziarkash, S. K. Joshi, M. Stipčević, and R. Ursin, “Comparative study of afterpulsing behavior and models in single photon counting avalanche photo diode detectors,” Sci. Rep. 8(1), 5076 (2018).
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2017 (6)

E. Anisimova, B. L. Higgins, J.-P. Bourgoin, M. Cranmer, E. Choi, D. Hudson, L. P. Piche, A. Scott, V. Makarov, and T. Jennewein, “Mitigating radiation damage of single photon detectors for space applications,” EPJ Quantum Technology 4(1), 10 (2017).
[Crossref]

J. G. Lim, E. Anisimova, B. L. Higgins, J.-P. Bourgoin, T. Jennewein, and V. Makarov, “Laser annealing heals radiation damage in avalanche photodiodes,” EPJ Quantum Technology 4(1), 11 (2017).
[Crossref]

S. K. Liao, W. Q. Cai, W. Y. Liu, L. Zhang, Y. Li, J. G. Ren, J. Yin, Q. Shen, Y. Cao, Z. P. Li, F. Z. Li, X. W. Chen, L. H. Sun, J. J. Jia, J. C. Wu, X. J. Jiang, J. F. Wang, Y. M. Huang, Q. Wang, Y. L. Zhou, L. Deng, T. Xi, L. Ma, T. Hu, Q. Zhang, Y. A. Chen, N. L. Liu, X. B. Wang, Z. C. Zhu, C. Y. Lu, R. Shu, C. Z. Peng, J. Y. Wang, and J. W. Pan, “Satellite-to-ground quantum key distribution,” Nature 549(7670), 43–47 (2017).
[Crossref]

R. Bedington, J. M. Arrazola, and A. Ling, “Progress in satellite quantum key distribution,” npj Quantum Inf 3(1), 30 (2017).
[Crossref]

J. G. Ren, P. Xu, H. L. Yong, L. Zhang, S. K. Liao, J. Yin, W. Y. Liu, W. Q. Cai, M. Yang, L. Li, K. X. Yang, X. Han, Y. Q. Yao, J. Li, H. Y. Wu, S. Wan, L. Liu, D. Q. Liu, Y. W. Kuang, Z. P. He, P. Shang, C. Guo, R. H. Zheng, K. Tian, Z. C. Zhu, N. L. Liu, C. Y. Lu, R. Shu, Y. A. Chen, C. Z. Peng, J. Y. Wang, and J. W. Pan, “Ground-to-satellite quantum teleportation,” Nature 549(7670), 70–73 (2017).
[Crossref]

J. Yin, Y. Cao, Y. H. Li, S. K. Liao, L. Zhang, J. G. Ren, W. Q. Cai, W. Y. Liu, B. Li, H. Dai, G. B. Li, Q. M. Lu, Y. H. Gong, Y. Xu, S. L. Li, F. Z. Li, Y. Y. Yin, Z. Q. Jiang, M. Li, J. J. Jia, G. Ren, D. He, Y. L. Zhou, X. X. Zhang, N. Wang, X. Chang, Z. C. Zhu, N. L. Liu, Y. A. Chen, C. Y. Lu, R. Shu, C. Z. Peng, J. Y. Wang, and J. W. Pan, “Satellite-based entanglement distribution over 1200 kilometers,” Science 356(6343), 1140–1144 (2017).
[Crossref]

2016 (2)

Z. Tang, R. Chandrasekara, Y. C. Tan, C. Cheng, L. Sha, G. C. Hiang, D. K. Oi, and A. Ling, “Generation and analysis of correlated pairs of photons aboard a nanosatellite,” Phys. Rev. Appl. 5(5), 054022 (2016).
[Crossref]

A. Swatantran, H. Tang, T. Barrett, P. DeCola, and R. Dubayah, “Rapid, high-resolution forest structure and terrain mapping over large areas using single photon lidar,” Sci. Rep. 6(1), 28277 (2016).
[Crossref]

2015 (1)

D. Shin, A. Kirmani, V. K. Goyal, and J. H. Shapiro, “Photon-efficient computational 3-D and reflectivity imaging with single-photon detectors,” IEEE Trans. Comput. Imaging 1(2), 112–125 (2015).
[Crossref]

2014 (1)

2013 (2)

Y. C. Tan, R. Chandrasekara, C. Cheng, and A. Ling, “Silicon avalanche photodiode operation and lifetime analysis for small satellites,” Opt. Express 21(14), 16946 (2013).
[Crossref]

J. Bourgoin, E. Meyer-Scott, B. L. Higgins, B. Helou, C. Erven, H. Huebel, B. Kumar, D. Hudson, I. D’Souza, and R. Girard, “A comprehensive design and performance analysis of low Earth orbit satellite quantum communication,” New J. Phys. 15(2), 023006 (2013).
[Crossref]

2012 (3)

J. Yin, J.-G. Ren, H. Lu, Y. Cao, H.-L. Yong, Y.-P. Wu, C. Liu, S.-K. Liao, F. Zhou, and Y. Jiang, “Quantum teleportation and entanglement distribution over 100-kilometre free-space channels,” Nature 488(7410), 185–188 (2012).
[Crossref]

X.-S. Ma, T. Herbst, T. Scheidl, D. Wang, S. Kropatschek, W. Naylor, B. Wittmann, A. Mech, J. Kofler, and E. Anisimova, “Quantum teleportation over 143 kilometres using active feed-forward,” Nature 489(7415), 269–273 (2012).
[Crossref]

J. Kodet, I. Prochazka, J. Blazej, X. Sun, and J. Cavanaugh, “Single photon avalanche diode radiation tests,” Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res., Sect. A 695, 309–312 (2012).
[Crossref]

2011 (2)

Y.-S. Kim, Y.-C. Jeong, S. Sauge, V. Makarov, and Y.-H. Kim, “Ultra-low noise single-photon detector based on Si avalanche photodiode,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 82(9), 093110 (2011).
[Crossref]

O. Zeynali, D. Masti, A. Ebrahimi, M. Orvatinia, and N. Maryam, “The design and simulation of the shield reduce ionizing radiation effects on electronic circuits in satellites,” Electr. Electron. Eng. 1, 112–116 (2011).

2010 (1)

J. Kataoka, T. Toizumi, T. Nakamori, Y. Yatsu, Y. Tsubuku, Y. Kuramoto, T. Enomoto, R. Usui, N. Kawai, and H. Ashida, “In-orbit performance of avalanche photodiode as radiation detector on board the picosatellite Cute1.7 + APD II,” J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 115(A5), 1292–1300 (2010).
[Crossref]

2009 (3)

R. H. Hadfield, “Single-photon detectors for optical quantum information applications,” Nat. Photonics 3(12), 696–705 (2009).
[Crossref]

C. Bonato, A. Tomaello, V. Da Deppo, G. Naletto, and P. Villoresi, “Feasibility of satellite quantum key distribution,” New J. Phys. 11(4), 045017 (2009).
[Crossref]

I. Prochazka and F. Yang, “Photon counting module for laser time transfer via Earth orbiting satellite,” J. Mod. Opt. 56(2-3), 253–260 (2009).
[Crossref]

2007 (1)

R. Ursin, F. Tiefenbacher, T. Schmitt-Manderbach, H. Weier, T. Scheidl, M. Lindenthal, B. Blauensteiner, T. Jennewein, J. Perdigues, and P. Trojek, “Entanglement-based quantum communication over 144 km,” Nat. Phys. 3(7), 481–486 (2007).
[Crossref]

2006 (1)

X. Sun, J. D. Spinhirne, and M. A. Krainak, “In orbit performance of Si avalanche photodiode single photon counting modules in the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System on ICESat,” Proc. SPIE 6372, 63720P (2006).
[Crossref]

2005 (2)

B. Schutz, H. Zwally, C. Shuman, D. Hancock, and J. DiMarzio, “Overview of the ICESat mission,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 32(21), L21S01 (2005).
[Crossref]

C.-Z. Peng, T. Yang, X.-H. Bao, J. Zhang, X.-M. Jin, F.-Y. Feng, B. Yang, J. Yang, J. Yin, and Q. Zhang, “Experimental free-space distribution of entangled photon pairs over 13 km: towards satellite-based global quantum communication,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 94(15), 150501 (2005).
[Crossref]

2004 (2)

X. Sun, M. A. Krainak, J. B. Abshire, J. D. Spinhirne, C. Trottier, M. Davies, H. Dautet, G. R. Allan, A. T. Lukemire, and J. C. Vandiver, “Space-qualified silicon avalanche-photodiode single-photon-counting modules,” J. Mod. Opt. 51(9-10), 1333–1350 (2004).
[Crossref]

S. Cova, M. Ghioni, A. Lotito, I. Rech, and F. Zappa, “Evolution and prospects for single-photon avalanche diodes and quenching circuits,” J. Mod. Opt. 51(9-10), 1267–1288 (2004).
[Crossref]

2003 (4)

G. Lindström, “Radiation damage in silicon detectors,” Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res., Sect. A 512(1-2), 30–43 (2003).
[Crossref]

J. Srour, C. J. Marshall, and P. W. Marshall, “Review of displacement damage effects in silicon devices,” IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 50(3), 653–670 (2003).
[Crossref]

I. Jun, M. A. Xapsos, S. R. Messenger, E. A. Burke, R. J. Walters, G. P. Summers, and T. Jordan, “Proton nonionizing energy loss (NIEL) for device applications,” IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 50(6), 1924–1928 (2003).
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Figures (10)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Dark count rate (DCR) versus displacement damage dose. During radiation, sample #2 was cooled to −35°C and was biased with an excess voltage of 17 V, while samples #3 and #7 were unbiased at 25°C, and the other samples were cooled to −12°C and biased with an excess voltage of 17 V. For DCR measurements, all samples were cooled to −12°C and biased with an excess voltage of 17 V.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Displacement damage dose versus spherical Al shield radius.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Shielding and installation of the spaceborne, low-noise, Si APD, single photon detectors.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Deep cooling effect on DCR of sample #4. The results for the other six samples are the same. S represents the slope for the DCR versus excess voltage plots at different temperatures.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. Schematic of the driving circuit for single-photon detectors (SPDs) (ADC, analog-to-digital-converter; DAC, digital-to-analog-converter; COMP, comparator; DFF, D Flip-flop; PWM, pulse-width modulation; TEC, thermal electric cooler, HV, high voltage. The ADCs, DACs, and PWMs, are connected to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) in which the temperature and the high-voltage (HV) closed loop control were carried out.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6. Teleportation fidelity at different excess voltages and excess DCR voltages slopes.
Fig. 7.
Fig. 7. In-orbit characteristics of SPDs for 1029 consecutive operational days on the QUESS. (a) SPD DCR versus in-orbit time. (b) SPD excess voltage. (c) SPD operating temperature.
Fig. 8.
Fig. 8. DCRs of SPD #1 and SPD #2 during the first 262 days in orbit. Black and red dots show the observed data. Green and blue curves represent the radiation-induced DCR and moonlight-induced DCR, respectively. SPD #1 and SPD #2 feature a DCR increase of ∼0.56 cps/day during the first 262 days in orbit on the QUESS.
Fig. 9.
Fig. 9. In-orbit average DCR of SPD #1 and SPD #2 over a 1029-day period.
Fig. 10.
Fig. 10. Expected secret-key rate for ground-to-satellite QKD. The DCRs are (i) those observed in a previous study [16] (blue curve), (ii) those of the spaceborne, low-noise, Si APD SPDs in the present study (green curve), and (iii) those of the previous in-orbit SPDs (red curve). Other simulation parameters are adopted from the satellite-based QKD experiment [16].

Tables (1)

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Table 1. Characteristics of the spaceborne low-noise, Si avalanche photodiode (APD), single-photon detectors (SPDs) in ground tests

Equations (7)

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DCR = S W 1 W 1 + W 2 P pair ( x ) G TOT dx
G T O T = d = 1 D n i τ n exp [ ( E T , d E i ) K T ] + τ p exp [ ( E T , d E i ) K T ]
Δ D C R V = n i ϕ 2 K g n
S = α exp ( β T )
d s = SVe
η d = η ( 1 exp ( V e / V c ) )
F = η l η d F s F l + 1.795 R d t w η l η d + 3.59 R d t w

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