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CMOS SINGLE-PHOTON AVALANCHE DIODES AND MICROMACHINED OPTICAL FILTERS FOR INTEGRATED FLUORESCENCE SENSING
Dandin, Marc Peralte
Abshire, Pamela A
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This dissertation presents a body of work that addresses the two most pressing challenges in the field of integrated fluorescence sensing, namely, the design of integrated optical sensors and the fabrication of high-rejection micro-scale optical filters. Two novel enabling technologies were introduced. They are: the perimeter-gated single-photon avalanche diode (PGSPAD), for on-chip photon counting, and the benzotriazole (BTA)-doped thin-film polymer filter, for on-chip ultraviolet light rejection. Experimental results revealed that the PGSPAD front-end, fabricated in a 0.5 μm standard mixed-signal CMOS process, had the capability of counting photons in the MHz regime. In addition, it was found that a perimeter gate, a structural feature used to suppress edge breakdown in the diode, also maximized the signal-to-noise-ratio in the high-count rate regime whereas it maximized sensitivity at low count rates. On the other hand, BTA-doped filters were demonstrated utilizing three commonly used polymers as hosts. The filters were patternable, utilizing the same procedures traditionally used to pattern the undoped polymer hosts, a key advantage for integration into microsystems. Filter performance was analyzed using a set of metrics developed for optoelectronic characterization of integrated fluorescence sensors; high rejection levels (nearing -40 dB) of UV light were observed in films of only 5 μm in thickness. Ultimately, BTA-doped filters were integrated into a portable sensor, and their use was demonstrated in two types of bioassays.