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Measuring NEP Parameters of Photodetectors with Enlitech New Type Photodetector Characterization Analyzer PD-QE

The noise equivalent power (NEP) of a photodetector is one of the key parameters for evaluating detector performance. It measures the sensitivity of the detector in detecting optical signals, namely the strength of the weakest optical signal it can identify. The lower the NEP value, the stronger the detector’s ability to detect weak optical signals.

The calculation of NEP is based on two main factors: the internal noise of the detector and the detector’s responsivity to optical signals. When the optical signal power is equal to the internal noise power, the corresponding optical signal power is defined as the NEP. A smaller NEP value indicates the photodetector can detect even weaker optical signals and thus has better performance. We desire photodetectors to be able to detect very weak optical signals, so the lower the NEP, the better.

This parameter plays a critical role in several fields. In astronomy, photodetectors with low NEP values aid in observing faint astronomical light sources, helping scientists gain deeper understandings of the universe. In communications, low NEP detectors enhance the efficiency and reliability of fiber optic communications for more stable data transmission. In medical imaging, low NEP detectors are capable of capturing extremely weak bioluminescent signals to support accurate diagnostic imaging.

Scientists and engineers frequently treat NEP as a key benchmark in detector design and optimization. They work on improving detectors’ structures and materials to reduce internal noise while increasing detectors’ response speed, thereby enhancing sensitivity to faint signals.

The optimization of NEP can also extend the detector’s dynamic range, meaning it can handle an increased difference between maximum and minimum signal levels. Thus, the improvement of NEP not only enhances detection of weak signals, but expands detectors’ scope of application under different signal conditions.

It is clear that NEP is a key metric for evaluating photodetector performance. However, traditional quantum efficiency measurement systems face many testing challenges when applied to advanced photodetectors. These systems struggle to conduct thorough noise characterization and fail to directly obtain critical noise and sensitivity parameters like NEP and D*. Let alone analyzing those parameters to effectively optimize detector designs for improved performance.

Many researchers have tried to independently develop photodetector test platforms, hoping to analyze key parameters for design optimization. But the reality is that photodetector measurement and analysis involves expertise across multiple specialized domains. Due to limited relevant background of the homebrew developers and diversion of team efforts, customized test bed development often discovers uncontrolled issues like poor reproducibility, high base noise, difficulty in light source control, high supplier communication costs and inconvenient debugging and repair. Not only has this consumed significant time and resources, it also barely yields expected returns.

Mature testing solutions can avoid such dilemmas by fully utilizing professional knowledge in photoelectrics. It helps research teams analyze critical parameters and optimize designs, allowing them to focus on the core R&D without being distracted by technical difficulties, making the research process much more smooth-sailing. In light of this, Enlitech provides a complete solution “PD-QE” for analyzing cutting-edge photodetector (PD) performance. Leveraging advanced digital signal acquisition and processing technologies, PD-QE precisely measures standard EQE and IV curves. More importantly, it easily provides various analysis capabilities required during R&D without needing additional spectral analyzers. You can directly analyze noise current graphs, D*, NEP and noise spectra of detectors under different frequencies. Proprietary software even enables in-depth analysis on various noise types like shot noise, Johnson noise and 1/f noise across different frequency bands. Currently, Enlitech’s PD quantum efficiency measurement equipment uniquely offers a comprehensive and complete measurement and analysis solution for advanced data required in photodetector measurements and analysis. Let PD-QE take care of the measurements so you can focus on the research itself and make solid progress in your domain.