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Proceedings Paper

Front-end ASICs for high-energy astrophysics in space
Author(s): O. Gevin; O. Limousin; A. Meuris
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Paper Abstract

In most of embedded imaging systems for space applications, high granularity and increasing size of focal planes justify an almost systematic use of integrated circuits. . To fulfill challenging requirements for excellent spatial and energy resolution, integrated circuits must fit the sensors perfectly and interface the system such a way to optimize simultaneously noise, geometry and architecture. Moreover, very low power consumption and radiation tolerance are mandatory to envision a use onboard a payload in space. Consequently, being part of an optimized detection system for space, the integrated circuit is specifically designed for each application and becomes an Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC). The paper focuses on mixed analog and digital signal ASICs for spectro-imaging systems in the keVMeV energy band.

The first part of the paper summarizes the main advantages conferred by the use of front-end ASICs for highenergy astrophysics instruments in space mission. Space qualification of ASICs requires the chip to be radiation hard. The paper will shortly describe some of the typical hardening techniques and give some guidelines that an ASIC designer should follow to choose the most efficient technology for his project.

The first task of the front-end electronics is to convert the charge coming from the detector into a voltage. For most of the Silicon detectors (CCD, DEPFET, SDD) this is conversion happens in the detector itself. For other sensor materials, charge preamplifiers operate the conversion. The paper shortly describes the different key parameters of charge preamplifiers and the binding parameters for the design. Filtering is generally mandatory in order to increase the signal to noise ratio or to reduce the duration of the signal. After a brief review on the main noise sources, the paper reviews noise-filtering techniques that are commonly used in Integrated circuits designs.

The way sensors and ASICs are interconnected together plays a major role in the noise performances of the detection systems. The geometry of a sensor is therefore critical and drives the ASIC design. The second part of the paper takes the geometry of the detector as a story line to explore different kinds of ASIC structures and architectures. From the simple single-channel ASIC for CCDs to the most advanced 3D ASIC prototypes used to build dead-zone free imaging systems, the paper reports on different families of circuits for spectro-imaging systems. It emphasizes a variety of designer choices, all around the word, in different space missions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 July 2016
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99050O (18 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232663
Show Author Affiliations
O. Gevin, CEA Saclay, DRF/Irfu (France)
O. Limousin, CEA Saclay, DRF/Irfu (France)
A. Meuris, CEA Saclay, DRF/Irfu (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9905:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Jan-Willem A. den Herder; Tadayuki Takahashi; Marshall Bautz, Editor(s)

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