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Phys Med Biol. 2011 Oct 7;56(19):6327-36. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/19/011. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Signal and noise properties of position-sensitive avalanche photodiodes.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California-Davis, One Shields Avenue, CA 95616, USA.


After many years of development, position-sensitive avalanche photodiodes (PSAPDs) are now being incorporated into a range of scintillation detector systems, including those used in high-resolution small-animal PET and PET/MR scanners. In this work, the signal, noise, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), flood histogram and timing resolution were measured for lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO) scintillator arrays coupled to PSAPDs ranging in size from 10 to 20 mm, and the optimum bias voltage and working temperature were determined. Variations in the SNR performance of PSAPDs with the same dimensions were small, but the SNR decreased significantly with increasing PSAPD size and increasing temperature. Smaller PSAPDs (10 mm and 15 mm in width) produced acceptable flood histograms at 24 °C, and cooling lower than 16 °C produced little improvement. The optimum bias voltage was about 25 V below the break down voltage. The larger 20 mm PSAPDs have lower SNR and require cooling to 0-7 °C for acceptable performance. The optimum bias voltage is also lower (35 V or more below the break down voltage depending on the temperature). Significant changes in the timing resolution were observed as the bias voltage and temperature varied. Higher bias voltages provided better timing resolution. The best timing resolution obtained for individual crystals was 2.8 ns and 3.3 ns for the 10 mm and 15 mm PSAPDs, respectively. The results of this work provide useful guidance for selecting the bias voltage and working temperature for scintillation detectors that incorporate PSAPDs as the photodetector.

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