Optical Society of America
Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) are the preferred photodetectors for direct-detection, high data-rate long-haul optical telecommunications. APDs can detect low-level optical signals due to their internal amplification of the photon-generated electrical current, which is attributable to the avalanche of electron and hole impact ionizations. Despite recent advances in APDs aimed at reducing the average avalanche-buildup time, which causes intersymbol interference and compromises receiver sensitivity at high data rates, operable speeds of commercially available APDs have been limited to 10Gbps. We report the first demonstration of a dynamically biased APD that breaks the traditional sensitivity-versus-speed limit by employing a data-synchronous sinusoidal reverse-bias that drastically suppresses the average avalanche-buildup time. Compared with traditional DC biasing, the sensitivity of germanium APDs at 3Gbps is improved by 4.3 dB, which is equivalent to a 3,500-fold reduction in the bit-error rate. The method is APD-type agnostic and it promises to enable operation at rates of 25Gbps and beyond.
Hayat, Majeed M.; Zarkesh-Ha, Payman; El-Howayek, George; Efroymson, Robert; and Campbell, Joe C., "Breaking the Buildup-time Limit of sensitivity in Avalanche Photodiodes by Dynamic Biasing" (2015). Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Research and Publications. 585.
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