CMOS : Front-End Electronics for Radiation Sensors book cover
1st Edition

Front-End Electronics for Radiation Sensors

ISBN 9781138827387
Published July 26, 2017 by CRC Press

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Book Description

CMOS: Front-End Electronics for Radiation Sensors offers a comprehensive introduction to integrated front-end electronics for radiation detectors, focusing on devices that capture individual particles or photons and are used in nuclear and high energy physics, space instrumentation, medical physics, homeland security, and related fields.

Emphasizing practical design and implementation, this book:

  • Covers the fundamental principles of signal processing for radiation detectors
  • Discusses the relevant analog building blocks used in the front-end electronics
  • Employs systematically weak and moderate inversion regimes in circuit analysis
  • Makes complex topics such as noise and circuit-weighting functions more accessible
  • Includes numerical examples where appropriate

CMOS: Front-End Electronics for Radiation Sensors provides specialized knowledge previously obtained only through the study of multiple technical and scientific papers. It is an ideal text for students of physics and electronics engineering, as well as a useful reference for experienced practitioners.

Table of Contents



List of Tables

About the Author

Front-End Specifications and Architecture Overview

Basic Features and Electrical Modeling of Radiation Sensors

Signal Formation in Detectors

Signal Polarity

Space Resolution and Detector Segmentation

Amplitude and Signal Shape Fluctuations

Sensor Capacitance

Leakage Current

Sensor Equivalent Circuit

Modeling of Composite Systems

Examples of Radiation Sensors

Key Parameters in Front-End Electronics

A First Front-End Amplifier

Peaking Time

Gain and Signal Polarity


Time Resolution


Detection Efficiency and Derandomization

Front-End Architectures

Binary Front-End

Counting and Time-Over-Threshold Architectures

Time Pick-Off Systems

Sample and Hold and Peak Detectors

Analog Memories

Real Time Waveform Digitizers

Data Readout and Transmission


MOS Transistor Properties

Silicon Properties

Silicon Band Structure


Charge Transport in Silicon

Charge Transport by Drift

Mobility in Doped Silicon

Charge Transport by Diffusion

Einstein Relationship

Graded Doping

pn Junctions

Built-In Voltage

Depletion Region

Breakdown Voltage

Junction Capacitance

Contact Potentials

A First Look at MOS Transistors

The NMOS Transistors

The PMOS Transistors

Transistor Representations

CMOS Technologies

CMOS Radiation Sensors

Electrical Characteristics of MOS Transistors

The Threshold Voltage

Regions of Operation of the MOS Transistor

MOS Characteristics in the Linear Region

MOS Characteristics in Saturation

The Body Effect

MOS Capacitance

The PMOS Transistor

MOS Small Signal Parameters

Gate Transconductance

Bulk Transconductance

Output Conductance

MOS Small Signal Model

Weak and Moderate Inversion

The Deep Submicron MOS Transistor

Scaling Methods

Mobility Reduction

Velocity Saturation

Drain-Induced Barrier Lowering

Hot Carrier Effects

Gate Leakage Current


Input Stages

Transimpedance Amplifiers

The Transimpedance Amplifier as a Feedback Circuit

Common Source Amplifiers

Common Source Amplifier with Resistive Load

Current Mirrors

Common Source Amplifiers with Active Load

Source Degenerated Common Source Amplifiers

Feedback in Source Degenerated Amplifiers

Output Impedance of the Source Degenerated Amplifier

Cascode Amplifiers

Cascode Current Mirrors

Wide-Swing Current Mirrors

Telescopic Cascode Amplifiers

Folded Cascode

Unbuffered Transresistance Amplifiers

Source Followers

Buffered Cascode Amplifiers

Amplifiers with Rail-to-Rail Output Stage

Gain Boosting

Current Mode Input Stages


Input Stages in the Frequency Domain

The Common Source Amplifier in the Frequency Domain

Voltage Driven Common Source Amplifier

Current Driven Common Source Amplifier

Analysis of the Common Source Amplifier with the Miller Theorem

Frequency Performance of Cascode Amplifiers

Frequency Stability of Amplifiers

Feedback and Frequency Compensation of CMOS OTA

Phase Margin

Frequency Compensation

Effect of the Right-Half Plane Zero

Advanced Compensation Techniques

Frequency Stability and Compensation of Front-End Amplifiers

Transimpedance Amplifier with Ideal Output Buffer

Input Impedance

Transimpedance Amplifier with Real Output Buffer

Input Stages with Gain Boosting

The Charge Sensitive Amplifier

Frequency Performance of Current Mode Input Stages



Fundamental Concepts

Thermal and Shot Noise Spectral Density

Thermal Noise

Shot Noise

Noise in MOS Transistors

Channel Thermal Noise in MOS Transistors

Flicker Noise

Noise Calculations in Circuits

Noise in an RC Low-Pass Filter

Noise in a Single-Stage Front-End

Noise Filtering and Optimization of the Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The Matched Filter

Optimum Filter for Energy Measurements

Optimum Filter for Timing Measurements


Time Invariant Shapers

Ideal Charge Sensitive Amplifiers

The CR-RC Shaper

CR-RCn Shapers

Shapers with Complex Conjugate Poles

Noise Calculations in Time Invariant Shapers

Noise in CR-RC Shapers

Noise Calculations in CR-RCn Shapers

Noise Slope

Effect of 1/ fa Noise

Alternative Formalism for Noise Calculations

Noise Simulations

Pole-Zero Cancellation and Baseline Control

Pole-Zero Cancellation

Baseline Holders and Baseline Restorers

Baseline Restorers

Bipolar Shapers

Front-End with Transimpedance Input Stage

Gain and Bandwidth Limitations in Charge Sensitive Amplifiers

Effects of Finite Gain in the CSA

Effect of CSA Bandwidth Limitation

Effect of Finite Charge Collection Time


Time Variant Shapers

Ballistic Deficit and the Gated Integrator

Noise Analysis in the Time Domain

Time-Domain Noise Analysis of the CR-RC Filter

Time-Domain Noise Analysis of the Gated Integrator

Correlated Double Sampling

Time-Variant Filters in CMOS Technology


Transistor-Level Front-End Design

Transistor-Level Design of Charge Sensitive Amplifiers

Optimization of the Input Transistor

Load Design

Choice of Input Transistor Type

Passive Feedback Networks

Integrated Capacitors

Passive Resistors

Active Feedback Networks

Feedback Transistors in Linear Region

Transconductance Feedback

Feedback with DC Current Compensation

Constant Current Feedback

Power Supply Rejection

Implementation of Shaping Amplifiers

Single Stage Shapers

Multi-Stage Shapers

Active Shaping Networks

OTA-C Shapers

Compact Shaping Cells

Baseline Holder Design

Fully Differential Front-End

Implementation of Current Mode Front-Ends



Basic Discriminator Properties

Discriminator Gain and Speed Requirements

Discriminator Threshold Setting

General Purpose Voltage Discriminators

Two-Stage Discriminators

Discriminator with Cross-Coupled Loads

High-Speed Discriminators

Timing Discriminators

Jitter and Rise Time Variations

Time Walk

Leading-Edge Discriminators

Zero Crossing Discriminators

Constant Fraction Discriminators

Latched Comparators

Mismatch in CMOS Transistors

Mismatch due to Local Fluctuations

Mismatch Calculations in Circuits

Offset Compensation in Discriminators

Current Mode Discriminators


Data Converters

Basic ADC Properties

ADC Static Performance

ADC Dynamic Performance

ADC Architectures

Flash ADC

Single Ramp and Wilkinson ADC

Successive Approximation Register ADC (SAR ADC)

Conventional SAR ADC

Key Issues in SAR ADC Design

Low-Power SAR ADC Design

Basic TDC Properties

TDC Architectures

TDC with Analog Interpolators

TDC with Digital Delay Lines

Loop-Based TDC

Ring Oscillator TDC

Pulse Shrinking TDC


Appendix: Differential and Operational Amplifiers

Differential and Common Mode Signals

Differential Cell Large-Signal Behavior

Differential Cell Small-Signal Analysis

Differential Cells with Active Load

Differential Cell with Current Mirror Load

Operational Amplifiers

Single Stage Architectures

Two-Stage OTA

OTA with Class AB Output

OTA with Rail-to-Rail Input Stages

Fully Differential Amplifiers


Appendix: Practical Aspects in Front-End Design

The Front-End Design Cycle

Substrate Noise in Mixed-Signal ASICs

Off-Chip Data Transmission and LVDS I/O Ports

Bias Distribution in Multi-Channel Front-Ends

Front-End Calibration

Radiation Damage



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Angelo Rivetti received a degree in physics from the University of Torino, Italy, and a Ph.D in electrical engineering from the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. From 1998 to 2000, he worked at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), Meyrin, Switzerland on the implementation of radiation tolerant integrated circuits in commercial deep submicron complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. From 2000 to 2001, he was an assistant professor with the faculty of physics at the University of Torino. In December 2001, he joined the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Torino, Italy, where he developed very-large-scale integration (VLSI) front-end circuits now in use in the A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) and Common Muon and Proton Apparatus for Structure and Spectroscopy (COMPASS) experiments at CERN. He is currently a senior member of the research and technology staff at INFN. His research interests are in the design of mixed signal front-end electronics for hybrid and monolithic radiation detectors employed in high energy physics, medical imaging, and industrial applications.


"… an essential resource for whoever is involved with radiation sensors from the circuit design perspective. It nicely covers all topics of practical interest, gradually leading from general concepts to specific aspects and bringing several interesting examples. The author was able to effectively transfer his wide knowledge and experience, both as a researcher and as an educator, into this amazing piece of work. The book can lead newcomers to rapidly learn how to address the analysis and design of front-end circuits, but it is also suitable for experts to refresh some important concepts without the need to go through many scientific papers."
—Gian-Franco Dalla Betta, University of Trento, Italy

"… a well-organized, clear, and comprehensive guide to the design of low-noise front-end electronics for sensors. An ideal introduction for beginners and students, and a valuable reference for experienced designers."
—Gianluigi De Geronimo, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA and Stony Brook University, New York, USA

"Reflecting the author’s extensive experience, the book covers the design and implementation of the front-end electronics optimized for the amplification, conditioning, and digitization of signals in radiation sensors. This body of knowledge, developed along many decades within the high energy and nuclear physics communities, was dispersed in many specialized articles. Now it is collected, summarized, and enriched in an impressive book of about 700 pages, which covers both the theoretical background and many implementation practical aspects. This is the book that many people in the field were waiting for."
—Joao Varela, Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particles Physics, Lisbon, Portugal and Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal