Physics Department Seminar
Dr. Garry Tarr
Professor
Department of Electronics, Carleton University
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
3:30pm
HP4351

Custom Integrated Circuits for Experimental Physics


 

The “silicon foundry” concept has progressed to the point where it is possible to design a custom CMOS integrated circuit for use in a specific experiment and obtain small quantities of the chips at costs on the order of a few kilodollars. The power of this approach will be illustrated via a research project underway in the Department of Electronics in which a foundry CMOS process is used to produce a custom IC optimized to detect the alpha particles produced in the decay of the noble radioactive gas radon and its progeny. This chip is the key component in a “continuous” (direct-reading) radon monitor prototype aimed at production at very low cost in high volume. In some experiments- for example, monolithic integration of a sensor incorporating materials not normally permitted in a CMOS process- it may not be possible to obtain chips from commercial foundries. In these special cases Carleton's Department of Electronics Microfabrication Facility can provide in-house fabrication of silicon-on-insulator CMOS ICs with gate lengths down to 1 μm at integration densities up to roughly a thousand transistors. Examples of such chips will be given