Single-photon avalanche photodiode (SPAD) image sensors offer time-gated photon counting, at high binary frame rates of >100 kFPS and with no readout noise. This makes them well-suited to a range of scientific applications, including microscopy, sensing and quantum optics. However, due to the complex electronics required, the fill factor tends to be significantly lower (< 10%) than that of EMCCD and sCMOS cameras (>90%), whilst the pixel size is typically larger, impacting the sensitivity and practicalities of the SPAD devices. This paper presents the first characterisation of a cylindrical-shaped microlens array applied to a small, 8 micron, pixel SPAD imager. The enhanced fill factor, approximate to 50% for collimated light, is the highest reported value amongst SPAD sensors with comparable resolution and pixel pitch. We demonstrate the impact of the increased sensitivity in single-molecule localisation microscopy, obtaining a resolution of below 40nm, the best reported figure for a SPAD sensor. (c) 2018 Optical Society of America
Optics Express, vol. 26 (3), pp. 2280-2291, Feb 2018.