Document Type



Mohammed Diagne

Publication Date



This honors paper is restricted to the Connecticut College campus until May 24, 2026.


Single photon avalanche diode technology is growing and expanding at an upward progression in our society. These devices play a pivotal role in defense, communication, and space-borne applications, specifically in NASA and DoD related missions. Unlike a typical photodetector, single photon avalanche diodes are highly sensitive devices that can detect down to a single photon. There are many factors within the fabrication process of these detectors to consider in order to produce the most effective outcome. Some of these factors include compactability and size, materials available, as well as potential limitations including environment, cost, and temperature. This paper will outline the basics of single photon avalanche diodes: the physics and engineering principles behind the process, the considerations and deliberations that go into fabrication and testing, as well as certain figures of merit and parameters by which they are assessed. The paper will then highlight real world applications that data and conclusions from this study apply to directly, specifically space-borne missions where radiation levels are considerably higher than in Earth-borne missions. Different radiation hardening methods in order to improve longevity and effectiveness of these devices will be described. Lastly, the future of single photon avalanche diodes will be discussed, illustrating new concepts and directions that the field is heading into.

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The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.