Bit-Error Rates for Optical Receivers Using Avalanche Photodiodes With Dead Space

Document Type


Publication Date



Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Source Publication

IEEE Transactions on Communications

Source ISSN



Bit-error rates are computed for an on-off keying optical communication system using avalanche photodiodes (APDs). We use a model for the APD that includes dead space and the finite response time. Dead space is the minimum distance that a newly generated carrier must travel in order to acquire sufficient energy to become capable of causing an impact ionization in the multiplication region of the APD. The detector's finite impulse response and its randomness are important for high data-rate systems. Using an exact analysis, we show that the presence of dead space enhances the performance at relatively low data rates. Using a Gaussian approximation technique with the exact mean and variance, we demonstrate that dead space degrades the performance at-high data rates since it is responsible for longer tails in the impulse response function of the APD, which in turn increases the effect of intersymbol interference.


IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol. 43, No. 1 (January 1995): 99-106. DOI.

M.M. Hayat was affiliated with University of Wisconsin, Madison at the time of publication.