Ultra-low noise CMOS Xray sensor spins off from astronomy to medicine

August 05, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Ultra-low noise CMOS Xray sensor spins off from astronomy to medicine
A £4.8m (€5.3m) project is aiming to develop a wafer scale Xray sensor for astronomy and medical applications

vivaMOS in the UK is working with imaging experts from the University of Southampton to develop an ultra-low noise CMOS camera sensor for optical astronomy and medical imaging.

The project will use stitched Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology for large-area imaging, exploiting exploit the low noise and high sensitivity capabilities of the vivaMOS sensor. This will enable the development of a large field-of-view camera that can be used in optical astronomy, with further potential opportunities for detectors in the medical field of single-photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) imaging.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8m (€5.3m) SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme.

vivaMOS, based in Southampton, spun out of the Rutherford Appleton laboratory in the UK in 2015 to commercialise the 6.7Mpixel wafer-scale Lassena X-ray image sensor:  WAFER-SCALE CMOS IMAGING ENTERS X-RAY APPLICATIONS

The company will collaborate with the astronomy group within the University of Southampton which has considerable expertise in the design and construction of optical and X-ray telescope instrumentation, and in low noise detector test and calibration.

“We’ve been involved in several other projects detecting signals from very low radiation sources. Although these have resolved information to a promising level, they’re not quite there yet,” said Dan Cathie, Chief Executive Officer at vivaMOS. “We know the sensor is best-in-class on noise performance and have committed to pursuing it further to see if a product can be developed through this SPRINT ultra-low noise optical astronomy project.

“The University suggested focusing on optical astronomy based on their expertise within the space cluster so we’re confident of getting good support. The results of the project will also feed directly into our product development roadmap for ultra-low dose X-ray imaging.”

“To this project with vivaMOS, we bring a background in astronomy, with particular experience in optical astronomy and astronomy detection integration, a focus on software and algorithms, and a

Xray sensor

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