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Electron counting at room temperature in an avalanche bipolar transistor
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View: Figures


Image of FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

Operation of a SEBAT. (a) Circuit schematic of a -type SEBAT associated with a passive quenching circuit. The symbol of the SEBAT is similar to that of a conventional bipolar transistor. The notations are E, emitter; B, base; C, collector; , inherent capacitance of the collector-base junction, , quenching resistor; , supply voltage; , emitter (input) current; , avalanche current; recharging current; and , collector-base voltage. (b) Collector-base voltage as a function of time. Whenever an electron triggers the avalanche current , drops from to the breakdown voltage . The width of the voltage pulses is determined by the recharging time constant . The average pulse rate, , is proportional to the ideal input current . (c) The output voltage of the inverter as a function of time. and are the supply voltages of the inverter, and is its threshold voltage.

Image of FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.

(a) Photomicrograph of the circuit, comprising the bipolar transistor (BT), the quenching resistor , and the integrated inverter (INV). (b) Schematic cross section of the bipolar transistor optimized for Geiger-mode operation. Notations: E, emitter; B base; C, collector; S, substrate; , base contact; , collector contact; and GR, guard ring.

Image of FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.

(a) Output voltage as a function of time at a mean avalanche firing rate of about , corresponding to . (b) for , which corresponds to . (c) Detail of (b) showing typical pulses in . (d) and recorded simultaneously as functions of at ambient temperature . The count rate scale is linked to the current scale through the relationship . Therefore, it is possible to compare visually expressed as an electron count rate to the measured output pulse rate. Also shown are for and, as a black line, the theoretical value of for , with the coefficient as the only fitting parameter.

Image of FIG. 4.
FIG. 4.

Average output pulse rate after subtraction of the parasitic count rate and emitter current as a function of the base-emitter voltage at three different temperatures. is evaluated by measuring for . The values of are about at , at , and at . A least squares exponential fit of is shown as a continuous line.


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Scitation: Electron counting at room temperature in an avalanche bipolar transistor