Abstract

A highly sensitive photodetection system with a detection limit of 1 photon/s was developed. This system uses a commercially available 200µm-diameter silicon avalanche photodiode (APD) and an in-house-developed ultralow-noise readout circuit, which are both cooled to 77 K. When the APD operates at a low gain of 10, it has a high-linearity response to the number of incident photons and a low excess noise factor. The APD also has a high quantum efficiency and a dark current of less than 1 e/s at 77 K. This photodetection system will shorten measurement time and permit higher spatial and wavelength resolution for near-field scanning optical microscopes.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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