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Appl Opt. 1991 Aug 1;30(22):3091-9. doi: 10.1364/AO.30.003091.

Fourteen-decade photocurrent measurements with large-area silicon photodiodes at room temperature.


Recent improvements in commercial silicon photodiodes and operational amplifiers permit electrical noise to be reduced to an equivalent of 0.1 fA of photocurrent when a measurement time of 400 s is used. This is equivalent to a photocurrent resulting from fewer than 800 photons/s, and it implies a dynamic range of 14 orders of magnitude for a detector circuit. We explain the circuit theory, paying particular attention to the measurement bandwidth, the causes of noise and drift, and the proper selection of circuit components. These optical radiation detectors complement the primary radiometric standards. These detectors may replace photomultiplier tubes that have been used traditionally and or that were too costly to be used.

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