An Actively Quenched Single Photon Detector with a Light Emitting Diode

  •  David Starling    
  •  Blake Burger    
  •  Edward Miller    
  •  Joseph Zolnowski    
  •  Joseph Ranalli    


Light emitting diodes (LEDs) have applications in many industries for illumination. However, the LED is not limited to the generation of light. In this article, we demonstrate and analyze a low-cost LED for use as a single photon detector, rather than as an emitter. While many technologies have been developed for single photon detection, the focus has been on timing resolution and efficiency—not on cost of production. We compare our device to commercial solutions and validate the efficacy of active quenching to improve maximum photon count rate. While this device may be useful for labs requiring a large number of low-cost detectors, it can also serve as a teaching tool in advanced laboratory settings.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.