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Proceedings Paper

Noise optimization of the source follower of a CMOS pixel using BSIM3 noise model
Author(s): Swaraj Mahato; Guy Meynants; Gert Raskin; J. De Ridder; H. Van Winckel
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Paper Abstract

CMOS imagers are becoming increasingly popular in astronomy. A very low noise level is required to observe extremely faint targets and to get high-precision flux measurements. Although CMOS technology offers many advantages over CCDs, a major bottleneck is still the read noise. To move from an industrial CMOS sensor to one suitable for scientific applications, an improved design that optimizes the noise level is essential. Here, we study the 1/f and thermal noise performance of the source follower (SF) of a CMOS pixel in detail. We identify the relevant design parameters, and analytically study their impact on the noise level using the BSIM3v3 noise model with an enhanced model of gate capacitance. Our detailed analysis shows that the dependence of the 1/f noise on the geometrical size of the source follower is not limited to minimum channel length, compared to the classical approach to achieve the minimum 1/f noise. We derive the optimal gate dimensions (the width and the length) of the source follower that minimize the 1/f noise, and validate our results using numerical simulations. By considering the thermal noise or white noise along with 1/f noise, the total input noise of the source follower depends on the capacitor ratio CG/CFD and the drain current (Id). Here, CG is the total gate capacitance of the source follower and CFD is the total floating diffusion capacitor at the input of the source follower. We demonstrate that the optimum gate capacitance (CG) depends on the chosen bias current but ranges from CFD/3 to CFD to achieve the minimum total noise of the source follower. Numerical calculation and circuit simulation with 180nm CMOS technology are performed to validate our results.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 July 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9915, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VII, 99151P (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231190
Show Author Affiliations
Swaraj Mahato, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Guy Meynants, CMOSIS International NV (Belgium)
Gert Raskin, KU Leuven (Belgium)
J. De Ridder, KU Leuven (Belgium)
H. Van Winckel, KU Leuven (Belgium)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9915:
High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VII
Andrew D. Holland; James Beletic, Editor(s)

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