High resolution large area x-ray detector

X-ray counting microsystems that can be tiled to arbitrary large areas will be developed. These detectors are based on single-chip x-ray pixel detectors from the medipix project and the latest in wafer-scale post-processing techniques.

Miniaturisation of electronics has caused the digital revolution. The present-day circuit-design and semiconductor processing technologies have enabled us to completely change the way in which x-rays are detected and processed in commercial x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment. Here we propose to add even more functionality to such equipment, by means of tiling together several single photon-counting pixel-readout circuits on one single semi conducting sensor chip. Many new applications can be targeted in materials research as well as in life sciences, e.g. proteomics and pharmacological research, if such a large-area detector system can be designed and built. The partners in this proposal are already working together on the development and commercial application of photon-counting imaging chips, initially developed for High-Energy Physics experiments at CERN, and subsequently developed further by the MEDIPIX collaboration. After a development period of several years, we will bring to the market a first single-chip x-ray pixel detector, based on the Medipix2 readout ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit), flip-chip bonded to a silicon sensor. The next important step: to construct larger area detectors, without dead spaces, which can be read out at high speed. To form larger area detectors, chips can be tiled together, but since chips may not physically touch each other, a large area detector without dead spaces cannot be obtained in this way. This can be overcome by using a fan-out structure that adapts the pixel size of the readout-chip to a slightly larger pixel size in the sensor, and ensures uniform pixel sizes over the whole detector. Tiling many chips together to form a large area detector increases the amount of data that needs to be read out. For several applications the highest possible speed is necessary to result in an enormous data rate. Since the final detector setup needs to remain compact, it is necessary for this data rate to be handled through high-bandwidth serial connections. In the proposed project, the latest in wafer-scale post-processing techniques will be developed and tested to create x-ray counting microsystems that can be tiled to arbitrary large areas. These techniques include multi-chip tiled flip-chip bonding through-silicon via etching, pitch adaptation via interposer techniques, active edge passivation of sensor chips, and multi-Gigabits/second serial readouts. Keywords: X-ray detectors, microsystems, flip-chip bonding, through-silicon via etching, high-bandwidth serial transmission.
Project ID: 
3 624
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
2 690 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Electronic circuits, components and equipment
Market Area: 
Other analytical and scientific instrumentation

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