On the Design of an Analog Front-End for an X-Ray Detector (Electronics Project)

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Rapid development in CMOS technology has resulted in its suitability for the implementation of readout front-end systems in terms of high integration density, and low power consumption yet at the same time posing many challenges for analog circuits design like readout front-end. One of the significant challenges is the low noise design for high speed front-end systems, while at the same time minimizing the power consumption as much as possible.

A high speed, low noise, low power, and programmable readout front-end system is designed and implemented for an X-ray detector in CMOS 0.18 m technology in this thesis work. The front-end system has a peaking time of 10 ns, which is the highest speed ever reported in the published work. The front-end system is designed to achieve low noise in terms of ENC, and a low power consumption of 2.9 mW.

The detector capacitance is the most dominating parameter to low noise, which in turn is directly related to the power consumption. In this thesis work an ENC of 435 electrons is achieved for a detector capacitance of 5 pF and an ENC of 320 electrons for a detector capacitance of 3 pF. Based on the comparison to related published work, a performance improvement of at least two times is achieved taking peaking time, power, ENC, and detector capacitance all into consideration. The output pulse after amplification has peak amplitude of 300 mV for a maximum injected charge of 40000 electrons from the detector.

The readout front-end system noise performance is strongly dependent on the input MOSFET type, size, and biasing. In this work a PMOS has been selected and optimized as the input device due to its smaller 1/f noise and high gain as compare to NMOS when biased at same currents. The architecture designed in this work consists of a folded cascode CSA with extra cascode in first stage, a pole-zero cancellation circuit to eliminate undershoot, a shaper amplifier, and integrators using Gm-C filter technique.

All of these components are optimized for low power while meeting the noise requirements. The whole front-end system is programmed for peaking times of 10, 20, and 40 ns. The programmability is achieved by switching different capacitors and resistors values for all the poles and zeros in the front-end, and by switching parallel transconductance in the Gm-C filters. Finally fine tuning of all the capacitance, resistance, and transconductance values is done to achieve required performance.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Amin, Farooq ul

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