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In this work, we demonstrate a novel top-illuminated avalanche photodiode (APD) with high-speed and wide dynamic range performance for coherent lidar applications, which needs simultaneous processing of weak light reflections from the object and a strong optical local-oscillator (LO) signal at the receiving end. By taking advantage of a partially depleted p-type In0.53Ga0.47As absorbing layer and a thin In0.52Al0.48As multiplication layer (88 nm), the demonstrated APDs exhibit a wide optical-to-electrical bandwidth (16 GHz) and high responsivity (2.5 A/W at 0.9 Vbr) near the saturation output current which is as high as >8 mA. Furthermore, the measured low excess noise (k = 0.14) characteristics of this device ensure its wide dynamic range performance. In addition, it should be noted that the measured nonlinear behaviors of these APDs are quite different from those of typical fast p-i-n photodiodes (PDs), which always show serious degradation in their O-E bandwidths at their saturation output. On the other hand, the measured bias dependent 3-dB O-E bandwidth of the demonstrated APDs can be pinned at 16 GHz without any degradation at around the saturation current output. Such distinct nonlinear APD behaviors can be attributed to the space-charge-screening effect induced gain reduction under high-power operation.
- Avalanche photodiode
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