Process boost for photodiodes

March 29, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Process boost for photodiodes
X-Fab has modified its 180nm sensor process to boost the performance of photodiodes from UV to near infrared

X-Fab Silicon Foundries has extended its XS018 180 nm sensor process to boost the performance of photodiodes.

The augmented XS018 process module is dedicated to photodiode fabrication with six different options from ultra-violet (UV) to near-infra-red (NIR). The photodiodes process is capable of delivering best-in-class UV sensitivity with 40 percent quantum efficiency (QE) in the UVA band, 50-60 percent QE in the UVB band and over 60 percent QE in the UVC band.

For 850 nm NIR photodiodes the process gives a 17 percent QE increase over legacy devices based on the original XH018 process, and at 905 nm there is a 5 percent QE increase.

The process module allows the photodiode responsivity to be defined by specifying the size of the metal aperture. The output current of the photodiode is thereby scalable between full current and no current to compensate for any differences caused by filtering. This in turn simplifies the accompanying amplification circuitry for photodiode arrays.

Other enhancements include a 10 percent increase in the fill factor compared to devices based on the earlier XH018 generation. Through this, devices can be created that will respond to lower light levels, or the size of the die can be reduced in order to save space.

“Through ongoing investment, X-Fab has built up strong optoelectronic credentials. Among the proof points of this is the fact that over 20 percent of mobile phone handsets manufactured worldwide feature an ambient light sensor that was produced by us,” said Luigi Di Capua, VP of Product Marketing at X-Fab. “Thanks to the advances we have announced in relation to our photodiode offering, we will now be better positioned to address client demands for proximity sensing, spectral analysis and optical distance/triangulation measurement solutions.”

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