Silicon photomultipliers for biophotonics applications by SensL

SensL MicroSL and ArraySL silicon photomultipliers (SPMs)

The MicroSL and ArraySL silicon photomultipliers (SPMs) from SensL (Cork, Ireland) feature high signal-to-noise ratio, ±10% output uniformity, and require only 30 V for measuring low light levels in biophotonics and medical imaging applications. The MicroSL SPMs are 1 and 3 mm detectors with different photo-sensitive active areas optimized for dynamic range and detection efficiency, and can be coupled to scintillator crystals to detect photons generated in medical imaging and in biophotonics instruments such as flow cytometers. The ArraySL SPMs are 13.4 and 46 mm2 detectors for large-area photomultiplier tube (PMT) replacement in applications where a linear or 2-D array is required.

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SensL Introduces Next Generation Silicon Photomultipliers — SL product family provides highest signal/noise, low voltage operation and unprecedented output uniformity

Cork, Ireland September 6, 2011 – SensL, the world’s leading supplier of silicon photomultipliers, today is announcing the SL family of silicon photomultipliers (SPMs). The second-generation SL family of low light detectors features the highest signal-to-noise ratio of any SPM, 4x higher than previous generation SensL products. It also features industry leading output uniformity of ±10%. In comparison, photomultiplier tubes have ±33% output uniformity. SL detectors require only 30 volts for operation, which is less than half of any other SPM on the market today. The high uniformity of the SL products and low operating voltage greatly reduce the system complexity and cost. Select versions of the SL product family are also offered with better than 1% breakdown voltage uniformity.

SensL is producing the new SL SPMs in a standard CMOS process, providing very competitive volume pricing to enable new and revolutionary applications in medical imaging, hazard and threat detection, biophotonics and LIDAR.

The new line of products consists of the following SPM devices in a variety of industry standard packaging options, all built around the SL silicon:

• MicroSL — 1mm and 3mm detectors with different photo sensitive active areas optimized for dynamic range and detection efficiency
• ArraySL — 13.4mm square (~1/2”) and 46mm square (~2”) detectors for large area PMT replacement

Prices in high volume are $28 for the 3mm MicroSL detectors. The devices are all entering production and available now for volume purchase.

“The customers who have SL products in their hands and active designs are impressed by the performance, uniformity and ease of design. These new detectors work well and we are very excited to be bringing this 2nd generation SPM to market,” said Bryan Campbell, SensL’s CEO. “Large system OEMs can now comfortably design in reliable silicon photomultipliers and be confident of receiving sensors with high performance and uniformity, in any volume needed, at very low cost.”

SensL’s SL products are taking the place of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and PIN diodes used in earlier generations of equipment that are based on the measurement of very low light levels in fields such as medical imaging, hazard and threat detection, biophotonics and LIDAR. Silicon photomultipliers are replacing tubes and PIN diodes because the underlying CMOS technology offers benefits in terms of operating voltage, robustness, compact size, and insensitivity to ambient light and magnetic fields. Unlike other SPM vendors, SensL manufactures in a standard CMOS process providing the benefits of high volume manufacturing, low cost, high uniformity, reliability and security of supply.

The MicroSL detectors are ideal for coupling to scintillator crystals to detect photons generated by the various forms of radiation used in medical imaging, hazard and threat detection and high-energy physics. MicroSL detectors will also be used in LIDAR and biophotonics instruments such as flow cytometers. The signal-to-noise ratio is better than vacuum tube solutions improving the capabilities of existing instruments and driving the development of new solutions. MicroSL detectors are available in a number of industry standard packages and some parts include an integrated Peltier cooler capable of reducing the detector temperature to -20º C, further reducing the noise of the SensL SL silicon.

The ArraySL family is designed for large area PMT replacement in applications where a linear or 2D array is required. The non-magnetic packaging and small edge clearances are ideal for building larger arrays for use in the high magnetic field environment of PET/MRI scanners, which are used to monitor the vital processes of human and animal bodies or body parts.

About SensL
SensL is the world’s leading supplier of silicon photomultipliers (SPM), sensors that are used to detect and measure low light. SPMs are utilized in numerous markets including hazard and threat detection, medical imaging, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), biophotonics, process inspection and academic research. SensL’s products replace legacy vacuum tube photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and PIN diodes with a solid-state alternative, which is lower cost, more reliable and provides dramatically improved system integration benefits. Visit for more information.


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