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Proceedings Paper

Low-power low-noise mixed-mode VLSI ASIC for infinite dynamic range imaging applications
Author(s): Renato A. D. Turchetta; Y. Hu; Y. Zinzius; C. Colledani; A. Loge
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Paper Abstract

Solid state solutions for imaging are mainly represented by CCDs and, more recently, by CMOS imagers. Both devices are based on the integration of the total charge generated by the impinging radiation, with no processing of the single photon information. The dynamic range of these devices is intrinsically limited by the finite value of noise. Here we present the design of an architecture which allows efficient, in-pixel, noise reduction to a practically zero level, thus allowing infinite dynamic range imaging. A detailed calculation of the dynamic range is worked out, showing that noise is efficiently suppressed. This architecture is based on the concept of single-photon counting. In each pixel, we integrate both the front-end, low-noise, low-power analog part and the digital part. The former consists of a charge preamplifier, an active filter for optimal noise bandwidth reduction, a buffer and a threshold comparator, and the latter is simply a counter, which can be programmed to act as a normal shift register for the readout of the counters' contents. Two different ASIC's based on this concept have been designed for different applications. The first one has been optimized for silicon edge-on microstrips detectors, used in a digital mammography R and D project. It is a 32-channel circuit, with a 16-bit binary static counter.It has been optimized for a relatively large detector capacitance of 5 pF. Noise has been measured to be equal to 100 + 7*Cd (pF) electron rms with the digital part, showing no degradation of the noise performances with respect to the design values. The power consumption is 3.8mW/channel for a peaking time of about 1 microsecond(s) . The second circuit is a prototype for pixel imaging. The total active area is about (250 micrometers )**2. The main differences of the electronic architecture with respect to the first prototype are: i) different optimization of the analog front-end part for low-capacitance detectors, ii) in- pixel 4-bit comparator-offset compensation, iii) 15-bit pseudo-random counter. The power consumption is 255 (mu) W/channel for a peaking time of 300 ns and an equivalent noise charge of 185 + 97*Cd electrons rms. Simulation and experimental result as well as imaging results will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 November 1998
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3445, EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Instrumentation for Astronomy IX, (10 November 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.330290
Show Author Affiliations
Renato A. D. Turchetta, Lab. d'Electronique et de Physique des Systemes Instrumentaux (United Kingdom)
Y. Hu, Lab. d'Electronique et de Physique des Systemes Instrumentaux (France)
Y. Zinzius, Lab. d'Electronique et de Physique des Systemes Instrumentaux (France)
C. Colledani, Lab. d'Electronique et de Physique des Systemes Instrumentaux (France)
A. Loge, Lab. d'Electronique et de Physique des Systemes Instrumentaux (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3445:
EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Instrumentation for Astronomy IX
Oswald H. W. Siegmund; Mark A. Gummin, Editor(s)

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