The Silicon Photomultiplier

The silicon photomultiplier - SiPM - is one of the most interesting solid state low light level radiation detectors featuring single photon sensitivity, photo counting capability and extremely fast response.

SiPMs have higher sensitivity and superior timing performance compared to other solid-state photodetectors such as APDs and PIN diodes. For the first time, a silicon-based sensor competes directly with the vacuum-based photomultiplier tube - PMT - with the intrinsic advantages of being more compact, rugged, and insensitive to magnetic fields.

SiPMs can directly detect light in the near-ultra-violet to near-infrared range. When used in combination with scintillating materials (organic, inorganic or plastic crystals and fibers ) SiPMs can detect gamma rays, X-rays, beta particles, muons, cosmic rays, with very high efficiency and extremely low time jitter.


SiPM Applications

SiPM Features

Nuclear Medicine / Medical Imaging
High Energy Physics
Security & Safety
DNA Sequencing / Flow Cytometry
Biological Sensors
LIDAR / Image Ranging
Analytical Instruments
Electron Microscopy - SEM
Low operating voltage
Single photon resolution
Very high gain (105 - 106)
High temperature stability
Extremely good timing performance
Insensitive to magnetic fields
Not damaged by ambient light
Small and compact




  • This document is an introduction to SiPMs structure and operation. A description of the main SiPM parameters such as breakdown voltage, PDE, gain, and noise is given.