Locating the avalanche structure and the origin of breakdown generating charge carriers in silicon photomultipliers by using the bias dependent breakdown probability
We present characterization results of two silicon photomultipliers; the Hamamatsu LVR-6050-CN and the Ketek PM3325 WB. With our measurements of the bias dependence of the breakdown probability we are able to draw conclusions about the location and spatial extension of the avalanche region. For the KETEK SiPM we find that the avalanche region is located close to the surface. In the Hamamatsu SiPM the high-field region is located $0.5\,\mu$m below the surface, while the volume above is depleted almost until the surface. Furthermore, for the Hamamatsu SiPM we find that charge carriers produced by optical-crosstalk photons enter a cell below the avalanche region as opposed to an earlier device where most of the photons enter a cell from above. In the here tested Hamamatsu device the crosstalk photons probably absorb in the bulk and the generated holes diffuse into the active volume of the cell within 2\,ns and initiate a breakdown. The present paper is an attempt to spur further interest in the use of the bias dependence of the breakdown probability and establish it as a standard tool not only to determine the location of the high-field region but also to determine the origin of charge carriers relative to the high-field region. With the knowledge of where the charges come from it should be possible to further improve the optical crosstalk, dark count, and afterpulsing characteristics of SiPM.