Advances in Particle Detectors and Electronics for Fast Timing

A special issue of Instruments (ISSN 2410-390X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018) | Viewed by 29852

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Interests: photon counting and particle detectors; X-ray, UV, and optical detectors and instrumentation for astronomy and space science; astroparticle physics; detectors and electronics for picosecond timing; novel detector technologies and materials
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Photon and particle detection at time resolutions in the sub-microsecond to picosecond regime has increasing application over a range of disciplines including high energy physics, space science and astronomy, biological sciences, medical imaging, remote sensing, environmental monitoring and security. A few of the diverse range of such applications are: high time resolution astrophysics; particle beam trackers; RICH detectors; imaging air Cherenkov telescopes; TOFPET; fluorescence lifetime imaging; LIDAR; and time-resolved Raman spectroscopy.

Various types of detectors are being developed to fulfil these requirements. In the solid-state realm, these include single photon avalanche detectors (SPADs) and silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) in combination with electronics, such as multichannel time-to-digital converters or waveform digitizers. CMOS sensors have also been developed which combine timing functionality with imaging into a single chip (e.g., Timepix, TDCpix). Cryogenic detectors such as TESs and STJs combine fast timing with photon color sensitivity, and are being utilized in imaging arrays for applications in physics and astronomy. Other novel technologies and materials under development include the graphene FET, operable in different configurations as a high bandwidth photodetector from THz to X-ray wavelengths. Vacuum tube technology is inherently fast and new developments include advances in microchannel plates by using ALD coatings, and transmission dynode technology for photomultipliers with potential for picosecond resolution. Micro pattern gas detectors are also candidates for fast particle timing applications.

This Special Issue will highlight new developments in photon and particle detectors and complementary electronics for fast timing applications. We solicit original research papers, communications and review articles on all aspects of detector and electronic design relating to photon and particle detection at high time resolution in the nanosecond to picosecond regime. Research papers on state of the art results, techniques or novel approaches are welcomed. Reviews should be an up-to-date, critical overview of the current state of the art in a particular discipline, e.g., SiPM performance, TDC electronics. If you wish to discuss preliminary ideas, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to and welcome your participation in this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Jon Lapington
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Particle detectors
  • Photon-counting detectors
  • Picosecond timing
  • Fast timing electronics
  • Silicon photomultiplier
  • Microchannel plate
  • Micro-pattern gas detectors
  • Novel detector materials
  • Cryogenic detectors

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 3049 KiB  
Article
Quenching Circuit and SPAD Integrated in CMOS 65 nm with 7.8 ps FWHM Single Photon Timing Resolution
by Frédéric Nolet, Samuel Parent, Nicolas Roy, Marc-Olivier Mercier, Serge A. Charlebois, Réjean Fontaine and Jean-Francois Pratte
Instruments 2018, 2(4), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments2040019 - 22 Sep 2018
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 11018
Abstract
This paper presents a new quenching circuit (QC) and single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) implemented in TSMC CMOS 65 nm technology. The QC was optimized for single photon timing resolution (SPTR) with a view to an implementation in a 3D digital SiPM. The [...] Read more.
This paper presents a new quenching circuit (QC) and single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) implemented in TSMC CMOS 65 nm technology. The QC was optimized for single photon timing resolution (SPTR) with a view to an implementation in a 3D digital SiPM. The presented QC has a timing jitter of 4 ps full width at half maximum (FWHM) and the SPAD and QC has a 7.8 ps FWHM SPTR. The QC adjustable threshold allows timing resolution optimization as well as SPAD excess voltage and rise time characterization. The adjustable threshold, hold-off and recharge are essential to optimize the performances of each SPAD. This paper also provides a better understanding of the different contributions to the SPTR. A study of the contribution of the SPAD excess voltage variation combined to the QC time propagation delay variation is presented. The proposed SPAD and QC eliminates the SPAD excess voltage contribution to the SPTR for excess voltage higher than 1 V due to its fixed time propagation delay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Particle Detectors and Electronics for Fast Timing)
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8272 KiB  
Article
LinoSPAD: A Compact Linear SPAD Camera System with 64 FPGA-Based TDC Modules for Versatile 50 ps Resolution Time-Resolved Imaging
by Samuel Burri, Claudio Bruschini and Edoardo Charbon
Instruments 2017, 1(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments1010006 - 5 Dec 2017
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 8745
Abstract
The LinoSPAD camera system is a modular, compact and versatile time-resolved camera system, combining a linear 256 high fill factor pixel CMOS SPAD (single-photon avalanche diode) sensor with an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) and USB 3.0 transceiver board. This modularization permits the separate [...] Read more.
The LinoSPAD camera system is a modular, compact and versatile time-resolved camera system, combining a linear 256 high fill factor pixel CMOS SPAD (single-photon avalanche diode) sensor with an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) and USB 3.0 transceiver board. This modularization permits the separate optimization or exchange of either the sensor front-end or the processing back-end, depending on the intended application, thus removing the traditional compromise between optimal SPAD technology on the one hand and time-stamping technology on the other hand. The FPGA firmware implements an array of 64 TDCs (time-to-digital converters) with histogram accumulators and a correction module to reduce non-linearities. Each TDC is capable of processing over 80 million photon detections per second and has an average timing resolution better than 50 ps. This article presents a complete and detailed characterization, covering all aspects of the system, from the SPAD array light sensitivity and noise to TDC linearity, from hardware/firmware/software co-design to signal processing, e.g., non-linearity correction, from power consumption to performance non-uniformity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Particle Detectors and Electronics for Fast Timing)
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1906 KiB  
Article
Recovery Time of Silicon Photomultiplier with Epitaxial Quenching Resistors
by Jiali Jiang, Jianquan Jia, Tianqi Zhao, Kun Liang, Ru Yang and Dejun Han
Instruments 2017, 1(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments1010005 - 9 Aug 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5605
Abstract
The silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) is a promising semiconductor device for low-level light detection. The recovery time, or the photon-counting rate of the SiPM is essential for high-flux photon detection in such applications as photon counting computer tomography (CT). A SiPM with epitaxial quenching [...] Read more.
The silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) is a promising semiconductor device for low-level light detection. The recovery time, or the photon-counting rate of the SiPM is essential for high-flux photon detection in such applications as photon counting computer tomography (CT). A SiPM with epitaxial quenching resistors (EQR SiPM) has advantages in fabricating small APD microcells connected in series with lower quenching resistors, therefore, APD cells with a low RC time constant and a short recovery time can be expected. In this report, the recovery time of EQR SiPM has been investigated using both the double light pulse method and the waveform analysis method. The results show that the recovery time of EQR SiPM is strongly dependent on the size of the active area and the number of fired pixels. For a 3 × 3 mm2 device, while total about 90,000 pixels were fired, the recovery time was 31.1 ± 1.8 ns; while fired pixels were controlled to about 2000, the recovery time decreased significantly to 6.5 ± 0.4 ns; and the recovery time of one fired pixel was 3.1 ± 0.2 ns. For 1.4 × 1.4 mm2 device, the recovery time was 15.2 ± 0.5 ns, while a total of about 20,000 pixels were fired. Effects that may affect the recovery time of the SiPM, including strength of the pulse light, signal transmission time delay, and the readout electronics are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Particle Detectors and Electronics for Fast Timing)
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Review

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12 pages, 1798 KiB  
Review
Superconducting Strips: A Concept in Thermal Neutron Detection
by Vittorio Merlo
Instruments 2018, 2(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments2010004 - 2 Mar 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3654
Abstract
In the never-ending quest for better detection efficiency and spatial resolution, various thermal neutron detection schemes have been proposed over the years. Given the presence of some converting layers (typically boron, but 6LiF is also widely used nowadays), the shift towards concepts [...] Read more.
In the never-ending quest for better detection efficiency and spatial resolution, various thermal neutron detection schemes have been proposed over the years. Given the presence of some converting layers (typically boron, but 6LiF is also widely used nowadays), the shift towards concepts based on solid state detectors has been steadily increasing and ingenious schemes thereby proposed. However, a trade-off has been always sought for between efficiency and spatial resolution; the problem can be (at least partially) circumvented using more elaborate geometries, but this complicates the sample preparation and detector construction. Thus, viable alternatives must be found. What we proposed (and verified experimentally) is a detection scheme based on the superconducting to normal transition. More precisely, using a boron converting layer, the α particles (generated in the (n, α) reaction) crossing a low critical temperature superconducting strip some 10 µm wide have been detected; the process, bolometric in nature and based on the ionization energy loss, is intrinsically fast and the spatial resolution very appealing. In this work, some of the work done so far will be illustrated, together with the principles of the measurement and various related problems. The realization of the detector is based on industrial deposition and photolitographic techniques well within the grasp of a condensed matter laboratory, so that there is substantial room for improvement over our elementary strip geometry. Some of the plans for future work will also be presented, together with some improvements both in the choice of the materials and the geometry of the detector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Particle Detectors and Electronics for Fast Timing)
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