A 512x512 CMOS monolithic active pixel sensor with integrated ADCs for space science

ML Prydderch, NJ Waltham, R Turchetta, MJ French, R Holt, A Marshall, D Burt, R Bell, P Pool, Christopher Eyles, Helen Mapson-Menard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


In the last few years, CMOS sensors have become widely used for consumer applications, but little has been done for scientific instruments. In this paper we present the design and experimental characterisation of a Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor (MAPS) intended for a space science application. The sensor incorporates a 525 x 525 array of pixels on a 25 gm pitch. Each pixel contains a detector together with three transistors that are used for pixel reset, pixel selection and charge-to-voltage conversion. The detector consists of four n-well/p-substrate diodes combining optimum charge collection and low noise performance. The array readout is column-parallel with adjustable gain column amplifiers and a 10-bit single slope ADC. Data conversion takes place simultaneously for all the 525 pixels in one row. The ADC slope can be adjusted in order to give the best dynamic range for a given brightness of a scene. The digitised data are output on a 10-bit bus at 3 MHz. An on-chip state machine generates all of the control signals needed for the readout. All of the bias - currents and voltages are generated on chip by a DAC that is programmable through an (IC)-C-2 compatible interface. The sensor was designed and fabricated on a standard 0.5 mum CMOS technology. The overall die size is 16.7 mm x 19.9 mm including the associated readout electronics and bond pads. Preliminary test results show that the full-scale design works well, meeting the Star Tracker requirements with less than 1-bit noise, good linearity and good optical performance. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section A. Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • 10-bit single slope ADC
  • Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor
  • (IC)-C-2
  • CMOS


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