Sensors (Sep 2021)

Characterisation of SiPM Photon Emission in the Dark

  • Joseph Biagio McLaughlin,
  • Giacomo Gallina,
  • Fabrice Retière,
  • Austin De St. Croix,
  • Pietro Giampa,
  • Mahsa Mahtab,
  • Peter Margetak,
  • Lars Martin,
  • Nicolas Massacret,
  • Jocelyn Monroe,
  • Mayur Patel,
  • Kurtis Raymond,
  • Jolie Roiseux,
  • Liang Xie,
  • Guoqing Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 5947
p. 5947


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In this paper, we report on the photon emission of Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs) from avalanche pulses generated in dark conditions, with the main objective of better understanding the associated systematics for next-generation, large area, SiPM-based physics experiments. A new apparatus for spectral and imaging analysis was developed at TRIUMF and used to measure the light emitted by the two SiPMs considered as photo-sensor candidates for the nEXO neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment: one Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) VUV-HD Low Field (LF) Low After Pulse (Low AP) (VUV-HD3) SiPM and one Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. (HPK) VUV4 Multi-Pixel Photon Counter (MPPC). Spectral measurements of their light emissions were taken with varying over-voltage in the wavelength range of 450–1020 nm. For the FBK VUV-HD3, at an over-voltage of 12.1±1.0 V, we measured a secondary photon yield (number of photons (γ) emitted per charge carrier (e−)) of (4.04±0.02)×10−6γ/e−. The emission spectrum of the FBK VUV-HD3 contains an interference pattern consistent with thin-film interference. Additionally, emission microscopy images (EMMIs) of the FBK VUV-HD3 show a small number of highly localized regions with increased light intensity (hotspots) randomly distributed over the SiPM surface area. For the HPK VUV4 MPPC, at an over-voltage of 10.7±1.0 V, we measured a secondary photon yield of (8.71±0.04)×10−6γ/e−. In contrast to the FBK VUV-HD3, the emission spectra of the HPK VUV4 did not show an interference pattern—likely due to a thinner surface coating. The EMMIs of the HPK VUV4 also revealed a larger number of hotspots compared to the FBK VUV-HD3, especially in one of the corners of the device. The photon yield reported in this paper may be limited if compared with the one reported in previous studies due to the measurement wavelength range, which is only up to 1020 nm.