Abstract

Photodiodes of the pn junction type are discussed as detectors of rapidly modulated light. Transit time effects limit the frequency response to about 20 Gc/sec. To prevent RC effects from degrading this frequency response, diode areas in the order of 10−4 to 10−3 cm2 are required. The design and performance of high-speed photodiodes are discussed. Coherent detection techniques offer four to six orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over incoherent techniques. The primary problems in the use of these photodiodes are the low signal-and-noise levels due to the low load impedances required for high-frequency operation. The possible use of avalanche multiplication to overcome this difficulty is suggested.

© 1965 Optical Society of America

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