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Smart Sensor Technologies and Training for Radiation Enhanced Applications and Measurements

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - STREAM (Smart Sensor Technologies and Training for Radiation Enhanced Applications andMeasurements)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

STREAM targets the development of innovative radiation-hard, smart CMOS sensor technologies for scientific and industrial applications to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers (ESR) and widen their academic career and employment opportunities. The STREAM consortium is composed of 11 research organisations and 6 industrial partners; the network provided training to 17 ESRs.

The project develops CMOS sensor technology to meet the demanding conditions posed by basic research like the ambitious LHC scientific programme at CERN, as well as industrial applications such as radiation hard X-ray, electron detectors and environmental sensors. STREAM structures the research and training in four scientific work-packages, which span the whole value-chain from research to application: CMOS Technologies Assessment, Smart Sensor Design and Layout, Validation and Qualification, Technology Integration, and Valorisation.

The focus of the scientific work in STREAM was the development of radiationhard CMOS sensors for scienctific and industrial use. The main research goal of STREAM was to develop electronics circuits and process optimizations to make commercially available CMOS imaging technologies radiation hard to levels of 100 Mrad total ionizing dose (TID) /1015 neq/cm2 non-ionizing energy loss (NIEL). This goal was achieved by the partners and fellows of STREAM through the combination of novel designs and process optimization implemented in a large range of monolithic active pixel sensors (MAPS). The designs and processing were developed in close cooperation with CMOS foundries, who produced the sensors in three major CMOS imaging technologies with node sizes of 150 nm to 180 nm. The qualification of the sensors was carried out by the STREAM partners in irradiation tests, electronic tests and tests with charged particle and photo/X-ray detectors. To conclude: STREAM has successfully demonstrated for the first time that monolithic CMOS pixel sensors can be made radiation hard to 100 Mrad TID /1015 neq/cm2 (NIEL) and operate fully efficient with low noise as charged particle detectors for applications in science and industry.
STREAM trained Early Stage Researchers in the field of physics, sensing technologies and microelectronics, and methods to valorize and bring to market innovative technologies. The main research goal of STREAM was to develop electronics circuits and process optimizations to make commercially available CMOS imaging technologies radiation hard to levels of 100 Mrad total ionizing dose (TID) /1015 neq/cm2 non-ionizing energy loss (NIEL). This goal was achieved through the combination of novel designs and process optimization implemented in a large range of monolithic active pixel sensors (MAPS). The designs and processing were developed in close cooperation with CMOS foundries, who produced the sensors in three major CMOS imaging technologies with node sizes of 150 nm to 180 nm. The qualification of the sensors was carried out by the STREAM partners in irradiation tests, electronic tests and tests with charged particle and photo/X-ray detectors. STREAM demonstrated for the first time that monolithic CMOS pixel sensors can be made radiation hard to 100 Mrad TID /1015 neq/cm2 (NIEL) and operate fully efficient with low noise as charged particle detectors for applications in science and industry. The results of STREAM are published in 41 peer-reviewed publications and have been regularly presented at International Conferences. The ambitious STREAM goals were achieved as a cohesive community of ESRs and experienced supervisors through creative ideas, dedication and thorough scientific work carried out with numerous interactions with a large spectrum of collaborators from industry and the scientific community.

The STREAM ESRs have participated in 55 outreach and dissemination events reaching the scientific and industrial community as well as high school students. STREAM results have been published in a total of 41 peer-reviewed articles in important journals as such as the Journal of Instrumentation (JINST), Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A (NIMA) and IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 15 of these publications have been made as Conference Proceedings to major international conferences.
The STREAM ESRs have contributed to an impressive amount of studies of sensor designs and testing campaigns. They have received training in physics, electronics engineering as well as complementary skills, business development and personalized tutoring during their research projects and PhD work. The MSCA ITN network has given them the unique opportunity to develop their skills in an international research collaboration, personally and professionally grow in a fruitful and stimulating work environment, and have directly benefited from the dedicated supervision received in their home institutes and companies. The experience and knowledge they gained during the past 4 years in STREAM has brought them many steps further to become the next generation of leading scientists and engineers in Europe. The STREAM project provided the framework for the ESRs to obtain a doctorate during their research and training, with 12 doctorates near completion and 5 of them completed by the time of this report. 12 ESRs have received continuing contracts by their STREAM host after the end of the MSCA ITN contract, and 4 ESRs have already obtained positions by other companies or universities by the end of the STREAM project.

Scientific advancement in radiation hard CMOS sensors, dissemination of results and and their valorization:

The STREAM ITN has had an important impact on the technical advancement of CMOS sensor technologies for High Energy Physics experiments and industrial applications.The STREAM project has proposed and achieved significant advanced technology innovations in imaging sensor design thanks to unique synergies between industrial partners in the fields of sensor research and microelectronics. Since the beginning of the project, more than 35 peer-reviewed articles and publications in Conference Proceedings and papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals have been realized by the ESRs and their supervisors reflecting the maturity of the research topics addressed by the project. A summary of publications is available on the public STREAM Web page (https://stream.web.cern.ch/conferences-and-publications). During the course of the project STREAM ESRs have participated in over 100 events to bring the research results of STREAM to the scientific community as well as the general public.

Technology Valorisation was high in the agenda, with major advances for the industrial partners. This aspect was also a key part of the ESRs training in technology valorisation and business trainings organized in the framework of STREAM. The ESRs completed, together with business students, the analysis of technology and business developments for the beneficiaries: CIS on Radiation monitoring for environmental applications; ThermoFisher Scientific for the next generation of highest resolution electron microscopes; AMS AG on photo sensors for medical diagnostic for X-ray CT scanners.
Group picture of the STREAM Collaboration (3rd Annual Meeting at University of Geneva in Jan 2019).
STREAM Final Conference, CERN Sept 2019 - Project coordinators summarizing the project achievements.
STREAM Final Conference and Hackathon (16-19 Septembre 2019 at CERN)
STREAM ESRs attending and developing during the Network Wide Training
STREAM pixel detector (Monopix)
STREAM Outreach Publication - https://doi.org/10.21820/23987073.2018.54
STREAM CMOS wafer produced in a 0.18 um CMOS imaging process. There are 15 different prototype chips
Examples of outreach activities of the ESRs_ August 2017
STREAM ESR at the Hackathon “Technology meets Society” (event organised by STREAM ITN at CERN)