Photon counting CMOS chip developed at IFAE for the ERICA project

The project ERICA (Energy Resolving Line Camera) is aimed at developing a new x-ray camera for industrial applications with energy resolution. The project includes the development of a new photon counting CMOS specifically designed for this purpose.

The design and production of this pixel chip, based on TSMC 0.25um CMOS technology, has just been successfully completed. The packaging and mounting process of the ERICA sensor (this includes solder bump deposition, flip chip, pick and place, and wire-bonding) were done in situ by the IFAE team.

The chip is specifically designed for applications such as non-destructive quality control testing or security X-ray scanners in the airports.

The future plan is to put more than one ERICA sensors to form a 100mm line X-ray camera operating in synchronize with the moving belt and X-ray source to make a small X-ray inline scanner to test and evaluation.

 

 

The chip operates in photon counting mode and it is designed for high Z semiconductor pixel detector, such as CdTe, by bump bonding process, to form a real time imaging sensor for X-ray photons covering the range from 20keV to 200keV.

This range of energy for X-ray photons is typically used for non-destructive and quality control testing. The ERICA sensor has an array of 8 x 20 pixels for inline scan machine, such as the security X-ray scanners in the airports, but with an extra feature that the image is formed by summing up the 8 pixels in the direction of the scan belt using the Time-Delay-Integration (TDI) technique.

 

Each pixel is 330um x 330um and has six internal thresholds, six 8-bits counters, and six shadow 8-bits counters in order to achieve Data acquisition with zero dead time. The chip also incorporates signal processing algorithm (patent pending) to reduce the impact of charge sharing among neighboring pixels.

 

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