Comprehensive Radiation Testing of Uncooled, Free Space Coupled, InGaAs Quad Photoreceivers (2020)


Abhay M. Joshi *1 , Shubhashish Datta 1 , Nilesh Soni 1 , Matthew D'Angiolillo 1 , Jeff Mertz 1 , Michael Sivertz 2 , Adam Rusek 2 , James Jardine 3 , Jeff Livas 4
1 Discovery Semiconductors Inc., Ewing, NJ, USA
2 NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA.
3 Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA.
4 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA.


We have comprehensively tested uncooled, free space coupled, InGaAs Quad Photoreceivers having 0.5 mm, 1 mm, and 2 mm diameter integrated with a low noise transimpedance amplifier (TIA) using 30 MeV Protons, 100 MeV Protons, 662 keV Gamma Rays, 1 GeV/n Helium, and 1 GeV/n Iron at room temperature of ~20 °C. These devices find multiple applications in space for differential wavefront sensing as part of a Gravitational Wave Observatory, as well as instrumentation and control for next generation space telescopes. The bandwidth of all receivers was 20 MHz which was TIA limited.

All 0.5 mm and 1 mm devices were found to be fully functional at normal operating conditions and at room temperature for Protons, Gamma Rays, 1 GeV/n Helium, and 1 GeV/n Iron. Only one quadrant of a 2 mm InGaAs Quad had hard failure due to 1 GeV/n Helium Ions; otherwise it too survived all other radiation tests. Detailed test results follow in the manuscript including recommendations for future space flights. These radiation test results, combined with the earlier successful mechanical shock and vibration testing mean these devices have passed preliminary testing for space qualification.


Photodetectors have been deployed in satellites for low-speed passive sensing applications for decades. Photonics is expected to increase its role significantly in space platforms, which requires higher optical power handling for coherent systems and/or higher speed, than previously satisfied by mature space technologies, such as cooled Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) photodetectors. High performance Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) photodetectors, which are appropriate for such applications, are yet to be utilized to their full potential in space systems due to a dearth of radiation test data needed for space qualification. InGaAs photodetectors can also be operated uncooled at ~20 °C in coherent systems, which significantly improves the SWaP considerations in the spacecraft design.

One such device is the uncooled, free space coupled, InGaAs Quad Photoreceiver that we previously developed for space-based gravitational wave detection through coherent optical wavefront sensing [1, 2]. These devices have been shown to satisfy stringent signal-to-noise requirements of the Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA) mission, and have recently passed MIL-STD-883 mechanical shock and sinusoidal vibration tests [3].

In this work, we present the radiation test results of InGaAs Quad Photoreceivers having 0.5 mm, 1 mm, and 2 mm diameter for 30 MeV Protons, 100 MeV Protons, 662 keV Gamma Rays, 1 GeV/n Helium, and 1 GeV/n Iron. These tests were performed at ~20 °C, in line with the operating temperature of the LISA mission. We also analyze the dependence of susceptibility to radiation on device size, which provides valuable insight for the system designers. Combined with our concurrent radiation testing of other types of uncooled InGaAs photodetectors [4, 5], this work will expand induction of photonics in space.


Event: SPIE LASE, 2020, San Francisco, California, United States


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