Low Light-
Level Sensors

Detection of light is one of the major, basic principles of measurements and diagnostics in science and many applications. Many applications require single photon detection in various energy domains. The LLL detection in the coming years has the promise of a technology revolution.

Zoo of LLL sensors

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A coordinated approach

towards the development of the ultimate low light-level sensors

Various European research groups have played and will play an important role in further advancing the technology of low light-level detection. However, a coordination and structuring of these groups – especially
in Europe – is currently missing.

Current and future technologies
for low light-level detection

In the following, the different technologies are described to demonstrate the potential
for developments and future applications.

Photomultiplier Tubes (PMT)

Photomultiplier Tubes

PMT is the technology state of the art at present. The photomultiplier is an extremely sensitive light detector providing a current output proportional to light intensity. Photomultipliers are used to measure any process which directly or indirectly emits light.



Silicon photomultipliers (SiPM)

Silicon photomultipliers

SiPM detecors are solid-state single-photon-sensitive devices built from an avalanche photodiode (APD) array on common silicon substrate. The idea behind this device is the detection of single-photon events in sequentially connected Si APDs. The dimension of each single APD can vary from 20 to 100 micrometres, and their density can be up to 1000 per square millimeter.



More LLL sensors

More LLL sensors

Discover more types of low light-level sensor technology:

  • Abalone concept,
  • Superconducting transition edge sensors (TES),
  • Neganov-Luke light devices
  • Organic sensors