An avalanche photodiode is a photodetector containing a pn junction that uses a high reverse voltage and is semiconductor-based. It uses physics principles in its operation. The avalanche photodiode diodes generate electron-hole pairs using its energetic electron that results in the creation of an “avalanche” of electrons. Avalanche photodiodes are similar to semiconductor diodes in many cases but may differ because they may be exposed or packaged with an optical fiber connection or a window that permits light to the key and sensitive device regions. The avalanche photodiodes are actively being used in diverse applications, leaving many people wondering if they are worth it. Well, are they? Below are the applications and consequences of the avalanche photodiode.
Applications of the Avalanche Photodiode
Avalanche photodiodes have a wide range of uses. They are used in consumer electronic gadgets, e.g., smoke detectors, compact disk players, and infrared remote receivers for TVs and other electronics. They are used in the measurement of light in cameras and lighting or shutting off street lights. Avalanche photodiodes accurately measure the intensity of light and have been proven to have a more linear response compared to photoconductors. The avalanche photodiodes are also used in the medical field, such as in sample analysis machines, pulse oximeters, and the computed tomography detectors.
Advantages of the Avalanche Photodiodes
The avalanche photodiodes have greatly benefited many industries in different ways, especially when compared to the photomultipliers. First, it is cheap to acquire. The avalanche photodiode is readily available in the markets at low and affordable prices. Second, the avalanche photodiode is very light and compact, making it easily portable and fixable in many devices. Third, it does not require high voltage for it to function effectively. It uses relatively low voltage in its operation, such as in cameras and smoke detectors. Finally, the avalanche photodiode is credited with having a long lifespan and a top-notch quantum efficiency of approximately 60% to 80%.
Disadvantages of the Avalanche Photodiodes
Despite the numerous advantages, avalanche photodiodes also have several drawbacks when compared to photomultipliers. First, they have an overall low sensitivity. They are unable to detect very minute quantities of change, such as smoke in smoke detectors. This may be unforgiving if a fire is starting in buildings with avalanche photodiodes in the smoke detectors. Second, they also have a very small area. They cannot be easily modified or worked on because of their small area. Finally, the avalanche photodiodes have a latent effect as well as low response times when used in many designs.
The avalanche photodiodes are critical components in the different fields that actively use them. Not only do they have a wide range of applications, but they also carry along huge benefits. Despite the benefits they bring, they also have serious drawbacks that could lead to the failure of components and devices when not addressed. The avalanche photodiodes are still being used in many industries to manufacture gadgets because they are still effective. Therefore, it can be concluded that the avalanche photodiodes are worth it.