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Multispectral and THz

  • Multispectral and THz Activity

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Imaging is usually conceived as generating a picture of what we can see with our eyes: anyway, much more information can be carried by a picture obtained with wavelengths that we cannot see, such as X-rays, or infrared. Combining these different pictures into one, increases even more the real content of a picture, and the ultimate advantage would be do to so using a single imaging device.  

Here in IRIS, we aim at combining several sensing principles in order to obtain multispectral sensing and imaging devices, making use of CMOS and CMOS-compatible technologies.

Multispectral imaging. The combination of CMOS technology and above-IC processing performed by a project partner allows the integration of several types of sensors with different sensing principles: visible, infrared, and terahertz sensors.

THz sensing with bolometers and FET detectors. Sensing the THz radiation can be done using several diffent kind of detectors: SOI research unit is more focused on mainly two approaches showing potential for low-cost production, array implementation and electronics integration. The two approaches are THz sensing with bolometers and THz sensing and imaging with FET transistors.

Application cases: 
Multispectral imaging with three bands may open a wide variety of applications, but the main application that can be envisaged is imaging for safety and security. While visible imaging allows easy recognition of the scene, infrared sensing can help in automatic recognition of persons (or for flu monitoring), and terhaertz imaging can detect hidden threats below clothes. Terahertz sensing with single detectors may have several applications in the biomedical field, while multiple sensors allow to form an image and having applications in mail security, production technology, and non-destructive testing.

Beside technological challenges, the readout integrated circuit must cope with several different sensors providing electrical quantities to be amplified, processed and serialized.

The relatively small space available below each pixel has to be shared among the implemented sensors, keeping crosstalk to a minimum, without limiting the functionality of each part with simultaneous operation.

The main challenge is to implement in CMOS or in a CMOS-compatible technology the detector principle, and complement it with custom designed electronics for signal amplification and processing. The ultimate goal is to reach a sensitivity good enough to achieve real-time passive imaging with array of detectors in a commercial CMOS technology.

Research topics: