Design considerations of high-performance InGaAs/InP single-photon avalanche diodes for quantum key distribution

InGaAs/InP single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) are widely used in practical applications requiring near-infrared photon counting such as quantum key distribution (QKD). Photon detection efficiency and dark count rate are the intrinsic parameters of InGaAs/InP SPADs, due to the fact that their performances cannot be improved using different quenching electronics given the same operation conditions. After modeling these parameters and developing a simulation platform for InGaAs/InP SPADs, we investigate the semiconductor structure design and optimization. The parameters of photon detection efficiency and dark count rate highly depend on the variables of absorption layer thickness, multiplication layer thickness, excess bias voltage and temperature. By evaluating the decoy-state QKD performance, the variables for SPAD design and operation can be globally optimized. Such optimization from the perspective of specific applications can provide an effective approach to design high-performance InGaAs/InP SPADs.

Comments: 6 pages, 7 figures. Accepted for publication in Applied Optics

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