In 2006, then-students Oliver Jan and Phil Makotyn from University of Illinois (at Professor Paul Kwiat’s lab) developed an actively-quenched Single-Photon Counting Module (SPCM) based on the Perkin-Elmer C30902S-DTC Single-Photon Avalanche Photodiode (SPAD).
The bill of materials for their design was about $1200 (including the SPAD), or 25% the cost of a commercial Single Photon Counting Module (SPCM).
However, if you decide to build your own SPCM, I would recommend that you use this project for ideas, but not as a final design. One of the student’s conclusions was:
“With the photodiode pins plugged into the SPAD PCB sockets, the entire circuit functioned properly for about five minutes. However, after five minutes, the circuit stopped working correctly. This may have been due to the high impedance oscilloscope probe that could have burnt the SPAD out by reflections caused by probing it around our circuit.”
Not fun to smoke a $1,000 SPAD…
The project’s files are available at: http://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece445/?f=Projects&sem=summer2006
Click here for a zip archive containing the project’s files.