EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands A research group in Philips has created a prototype of an integrated CMOS photon detector that holds promise for a wide range of uses in high resolution scientific imaging.
Researchers integrated 8,188 analog photon counters on a single CMOS die so that each diode is individually addressable. The resulting 30V digital single-photon avalanche detector (SPAD) could act as a building block for next-generation medical, automotive and genetic imaging systems.
Unlike existing photomultipliers used to detect very low levels of light, the Philips chip is a digital design with an integrated eight picosecond timer. It does not need a separate digital readout ASIC today's analog arrays require.
Philips engineers hope to use the chip as a block in a larger 8x8 array they plan to prototype by the end of the year. Such arrays could in turn power modules that deliver higher resolutions than are currently possible on medical PET scanners. They could also be used to deliver new automotive night vision systems or high throughput DNA testers.
"We are looking for partners to take this technology to the market," said Rob Ballizany, chief executive for digital photon counting at Philips Technology.
|Rob Ballizany, chief executive of digital photon counting at Philips Technology, holds a CMOS array with 8,148 photon detectors.|
Researchers announced their work at a reception hosted by High Tech Campus Eindhoven, a tech park created on the Philips Research campus in 2003 to attract startups and act as home for spinoffs of Philips' own research. The consumer giant has spun off at least four research efforts as separate venture-backed companies in the past year.
The Eindhoven park is now how to about 90 companies employing about 7,000 people