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PaRaDeSEC Report Summary

Project ID: 669014
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.c.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PaRaDeSEC (Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The project Expanding Potential in Particle and Radiation Detectors, Sensors and Electronics in Croatia – PaRaDeSEC belongs to Horizon2020 program part Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation, topic ERA Chairs. The Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation aims to improve research and innovation performance, strengthen participation in Horizon 2020 and enhance expertise and excellence of the low-performing Member States and regions. In particular, ERA Chairs brings outstanding researchers to universities and other research organizations that have high potential for research excellence. ERA Chairs actions address the specific challenge to create the appropriate conditions and opportunities for high quality researchers and research managers to move and engage with willing institutions to improve the excellence of their research and thereby modify their research and innovation landscape.
Project PaRaDeSEC is based on R&D on detectors, sensors and electronics for research in nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and interdisciplinary research using accelerated ion beams. Contemporary experiments in astrophysics, nuclear and particle physics depend on specialized, expensive and complex detector systems. These experiments are performed in international collaborations composed of up to thousands of researchers, and share the large costs and effort required to expand the current understanding of the fundamental laws of nature and the origin of matter. Development and testing of such unique instrumentation, essential for breakthrough research, requires expertise from a broad range of topics in physics, electronics and computing. Research institutions able to make significant contributions in this field have a high reputation in the scientific community and increased odds to engage in related large collaborative projects.
RBI researchers collaborate with top European research centers, and have an excellent knowledge of the experimental techniques involved. However, RBI as an institution insufficiently contributes to instrumentation development, and, more importantly lacks outstanding researchers and research managers who can significantly improve the excellence of its research and innovation landscape. An important step to correct this weakness, and to increase related technological potential of Croatia, including material science, electronics and ICT, was successfully executed by the recently implemented REGPOT FP7 project Particle Detectors. Further actions will be taken through the proposed European Structural and Investment Funds project O-ZIP, through acquisition of state of the art research equipment and upgrade of laboratory space, designed in line with the national Smart Specialization strategy.
PaRaDeSEC provides funding for the required top staff to consolidate all available resources into the new Center for Detectors, Sensors & Electronics, an independent RBI unit which will strictly implement all conditions to foster state of the art research. The ERA Chair as the Center head will be involved in the RBI management structure and will be an integral component of ongoing structural changes at RBI, based on the best practices of the top EU research centers and ERA priorities.
The Center focuses on nuclear, particle and astro-physics, and is expected to also impact the broader research community and national economy. This expectation is based on experience of similar facilities in developed countries that research and development of advanced research instrumentation often leads to emergent technological progress and potential for technology transfer, positively influencing the local high-tech economy. Advances in instrumentation for such experiments can realistically result in new types of sensors and detectors for applications in medicine, dosimetry, materials’ characterization, security, robotics, energetics, as well as in faster and smaller analog and digital electronics for many industrial and home devices. Such advances can also lead to faster handling of very large amounts of data, to improved storage media for the data, to faster and more reliable data transfer and to novel communication methods. As experiments in nuclear and particle physics, and to a large degree in astrophysics, share to a large degree the methodology, the experimental techniques and the research instrumentation, then know-how can be easily shared between researchers in these fields. The overlap also covers significant areas of the underlying science, resulting in sub-disciplines such as for example nuclear astrophysics and astro-particle physics.
The specific objectives of the project are:
Objective 1: To acquire top class researchers for the planned Centre for Detectors, Sensors and Electronics (CDSE), a newly formed independent RBI organizational unit which will be the focal point of all activities related to the development, testing and construction of detectors, sensors, and electronics. The focus will concern the activities of the nuclear, particle, and astroparticle groups and related, often interdisciplinary, researchers. Recruited ERA Chair is outstanding researcher with excellent research records concerning detector, sensor, and electronics development. Furthermore, the ERA Chair has management experience at a top research institution. The members of his team, currently in the selection process, will be internationally recognized experts with strong research records. CDSE members will strictly implement all conditions to foster state of the art research and will develop their own research program.
Objective 2: To enhance the experimental role of RBI in the existing large international collaborative projects in nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics research. A priority will also be to enable related involvement in new collaborations. This will be achieved by significantly increased capabilities and capacities of RBI researchers for the development, testing and construction of detectors, sensors and electronics, with CDSE being the central point. Besides their own research work, the hired CDSE staff will transfer their knowledge and experience through practical trainings, workshops and schools, and assistance in activities, to the other RBI researchers.
Objective 3: To enhance capacities of RBI for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary applications and technology transfer related to the development, testing and construction of detectors, sensors, electronics and related instrumentation. Knowledge and experience related to techniques and methods in nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics can be applied in physics, chemistry, biology and many other fields. Such interdisciplinary studies are performed at RBI and other Croatian research institutions, like Universities of Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek, the Institute for Physics, the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health. CDSE will thus impact research excellence at the national level. Further, these methods and techniques are of importance for technical sciences and various related technologies. It is thus realistic to expect a positive impact of CDSE on the Croatian technology and economy as is the case for similar European facilities at GSI, GANIL or INFN-LNL. In fact, an important goal of this project will be to interact with the relevant industry to aid in the possible knowledge transfer of the acquired know-how. The hired staff of CDSE and the RBI staff will also transfer knowledge and experience through practical trainings, workshops and schools, and possibly assistance in some activities of high priority for RBI and for the national smart specialization strategy, to other users from the broader scientific community and industry.
Objective 4: To contribute to the realization of the Croatian smart specialization strategies, as well as take a leading role in institutional changes to implement ERA priorities. It is planned for the ERA chair to take a leading role in the implementation of the components of the 60 million Euro project “Open scientific infrastructural platforms for innovative applications in economy and society” (O-ZIP), designed accordingly to the current national Smart Specialization Strategy. The focus is in particular on the Advanced technologies and materials platform of O-ZIP. Further, the ERA Chair will take a leading role in the relevant components of the 10 million Euro worth “Cross-sector competence centre for advanced technologies” – applications of KET technologies. Such competence centres are an integral component of the Croatian Smart Specialization Strategy, and RBI through it has a direct link with all the main stakeholders in the Croatian industry.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"Activities at the very start of the project were related to the project management: contacts with the project officer, submission of list of published papers in period before the project start and deliverable D1.1 reporting on it, organization of the kick-off event, open call for the project administrative officer and open call for the ERA Chair. There were also activities on dissemination and communication: creation of the project web site, preparation of presentations for kick-off event and for other events where Project Manager was invited to present the project. The PR Office helped in creation of the project web site and also provides assistance in keeping web site updated.
One of the first activities in the project was organization of the kick-off event, the task of the WP1 Project Management. As the project started on July 1st 2015, just before the summer break, PMB agreed in July to organize kick-off event in middle of September, to maximize its impact and outcomes. The project kick-off event has been organized on Sep 14th 2015. The event started with presentations given by dr. Antičić RBI director, dr. Soić project manager and RBI deputy director for science and education, and dr. Fazinić RBI deputy director for international cooperation and projects, followed with conference for media and tour of the RBI accelerator facility. It continued with networking and discussion session with refreshments. Meeting of the Project Management Board was at the end of this event. Event was attended by representatives of all targeted stakeholders: our partner research institutions in Croatia, national science policy makers, potential new partners from academic institutions and industry, public media. Media coverage was excellent with reports on the event on all main national TV and radio stations, daily newspapers and web portals. The messages conveyed by the press release successfully reached media and targeted public. In conclusion, the kick-off event has been successfully organized with help of the RBI Public Relations Office.
The most important project activity at its start was hiring of the ERA Chair. Call for the ERA Chair position was opened in July by publication on Euraxess web service and official web page of the RBI with deadline for applications on October 10th. The position was widely announced and advertisements were paid in main web and printed jobs services in physics (Institute of Physics UK and American Institute of Physics USA). Activities on hiring, including public advertisement of the open position, started as planned in the first month of the project. But as project started on the 1st July 2015., due to holiday season the advertisement visibility was reduced. The advertisement was resend in September and October 2015 to all relevant mailing lists and all existing collaborators to increase its visibility. From the beginning of the project intensive headhunting was done in attempt to attract applications from the world recognized experts. Seven applications were received for the ERA Chair position. Received applications were evaluated by the selection panel consisting of 3 international experts and 7 RBI senior scientists. All members of the selection panel have reviewed the applications independently. International members sent their opinions by email. The RBI members had a panel meeting and after discussion, and taking into account comments and recommendations of the international members of the panel, selected three most qualified candidates who were invited to interview at the RBI. Process of negotiation with the candidates ended in final selection of the ERA Chair. Selected applicant, Dr. Jaakko Härkönen, signed work contract with the RBI and start work at the RBI on the 1st April 2016. Inconvenient start date of the project for hiring activities resulted in some delay of the ERA Chair appointment. In addition, because of obligations of selected applicant at his previous work position, he was able to start his work at RBI on 1st of April 2016, the month 10 of the project. By the ERA Chair employment at the RBI, he became the project coordinator and member of the Project Management Board.
The Project Management Board decision was to hire project administrative secretary simultaneously with the ERA Chair, because work load at the project before ERA Chair recruitment was quite limited. Project administrative duties before administrative secretary employment were performed by officer of RBI Department for project and knowledge transfer. The open call for the administrative secretary position was advertised on December 9, 2015. The call was open until December 31, 2015. The selection process consisted of two parts: a written examination in English and administrative skills and competencies and an interview. The Selection Committee consisting of Project manager, another PMB member and two employees of Department for projects and knowledge transfer, selected the most suitable candidate for the position of the administrative secretary. The employment contract was signed for the period from May 1, 2016 until July 31, 2020.
Officially, the Center for Detectors, Sensors and Electronics (CDSE) will be stablished after recruitments of at least some of the four research fellows, because Institute regulations require that new organizational unit has enough staff to perform its core activities. Until formation of the CDSE, dr. Jaakko Härkönen is working in Division of Experimental Physics as independent researcher. He has started a number of activities in establishment of the CDSE.
The first ones are related to the required equipment and laboratory space. Development of a full detector system requires sensor, interconnections and data acquisition (DAQ) with associated software. Appropriate laboratory space within RBI was located and refurbishment was recently completed. Tendering process for laboratory equipment, characterization and interconnection instruments and equipment was launched. These equipment include e.g. wire bonder, probe station, Transient Current Technique (TCT) setup and application specific electronics. A wire bonder is a basic equipment to connect, by typically about 20µm diameter aluminum wire, any semiconductor sensor into inputs (I/O) of CMOS read-out ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit). A probe station is setting which is used to perform electrical measurements on semiconductor detectors. At probe station, an operator or scientist aligns with a microscope needles providing electrical contacts on I/O pads, which typically have dimensions 100µm × 100µm. TCT is widely used characterization methods of semiconductor detectors. Detector is illuminated with very short laser pulse (typically few tens of picoseconds in time domain) and output signal is recorded by an oscilloscope. The signal reveals essential characteristics of detector operation and the advantage of TCT method is that one does not need to employ radioactive source or particle accelerator. The procurement of TCT measurement unit and oscilloscope was completed in autumn 2016. The facilities of the detector laboratory will be accomplished by O-ZIP investment program, ESIF funds for national Center of excellence for advance materials and sensing devices and by instruments acquired from other projects as is for example NATO funded project developing silicon carbide (SiC) detectors for nuclear safeguard applications led by dr. Ivana Capan.
Networking is essential for a successful experimental research in field of detector technologies. The RBI joined on 21st November 2016 the CERN RD50 “Radiation hard semiconductor devices for very high luminosity colliders” research and development collaboration ( RD50 has about 250 members from about 50 institutions. Being relatively large collaboration, RD50 brings together practically all leading researchers in field of radiation hard detector development and science. ERA Chair project leader Dr. Härkönen has been member of RD50 since its establishment in 2001. The fabrication of novel semiconductor detectors is done in close collaboration with CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid experiment within CERN Large Hadron Collider) group of Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) and with Micronova facility in Espoo, Finland. ERA Chair project group has institutional agreement to operate in Micronova open access nanofabrication centre, which cleanroom covers an area of 2600 m2 being largest semiconductor R&D facility in Nordic countries. The RBI ERA Chair project group has close links to "Center for Semiconductor Detectors (ZXMD)" of University of Xiangtan (XTU) PR China. Dr. Härkönen is a visiting professor of XTU and has co-authored more than 30 publications with director of ZXMD professor Zheng Li. China has recently proposed a project for next generation “Super Hadron Collider (SHC)”. Professor Li is currently leading the working group preparing technical definitions of semiconductor detectors to be implemented in the future SHC.
The radiation hard detector R&D of RBI group is largely focused on pixel detectors needed in future very high luminosity particle physics experiments. The foreseen challenge is physical downscaling of the pixel dimensions. It is of our interest to develop very high capacitance density dielectric thin films for capacitive coupling of signal in detectors of downscaled dimensions. Another concept of our current interest is to develop thin film metal resistors with high resistance density allowing to biasing of AC-coupled (capacitive coupling of signal) radiation hard particle detectors. The RBI team expects that Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is the key technology in order to create high capacitance and resistance density thin films in microelectronics industry feasible settings. Following recommendation of the ERA Chair, ALD instrumentation is included in O-ZIP equipment list. Recently, ERA Chair project group has together with HIP CMS team delivered more than 40 radiation hard detectors, processed with ALD method, for upgrade project of so called luminosity telescope of CERN CMS experiment. We have also on-going activity for R&D on photon and neutron detection. The materials under investigation are Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) and silicon carbide (SiC). The objective is to develop pixelated detectors for e.g. nuclear safety and medical imaging applications. Part of this research line is to develop Flip-Chip interconnection technologies suitable for non-silicon detector materials. Semiconductor radiation detectors have potential applications and wide societal impact in various fields: e.g. radiation dosimetry, radiation monitoring, medical imaging, industrial imaging, space technology, and scientific experiments studying nuclear and particle physics and antimatter. Recently, we have demonstrated X-ray detector made of CdTe, which exhibits superior energy resolution. The CdTe detector is connected by flip-chip bonding with read-out ASIC used in CERN CMS experiment. Dissemination of results is currently on-going. The members of the ERA Chair group in collaboration with the HIP group and RBI accelerator group have recently performed the first characterization of the CMS pixel silicon detectors with ion beams and plan for extensive use of this technique is under development. Other facilities of the RBI, namely equipment of dr. Capan, have been also used in characterization of the silicon pixel and CdTe detectors.
Dr. Härkönen and dr. Capan have applied for research grant funded by Croatian Science Foundation. Project proposals are under evaluation and results will be known by end of this year.
The ERA Chair Dr.Harkonen has been transferring his knowledge and experience to the RBI PhD students, postdocs and senior researchers. Most of this transfer is through everyday contacts and common research with RBI staff. He also gave two seminars at RBI and practical trainings at RBI and one at Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro INFN Italy.
Mr. Alexander Winkler from the University of Helsinki visited the Institute Ruđer Bošković from May, 10th - May, 15th, 2016. The purpose of Mr. Winkler's visit was to exchange knowledge and experience with RBI staff on semiconductor characterization and to initiate Deep Level Transient Spectroscopy (DLTS) characterization campaign together with Dr. Ivana Capan (RBI). Mr. Alexander Winkler and Mrs. Aneliya Karadzhinova from the University of Helsinki/Helsinki Institute of Physics visited the Institute Ruđer Bošković from September 14th-16th, 2016. The purpose of their visit was to deliver a practical training on semiconductor detector characterization for RBI PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, and to be introduced to proton beam measurements at RBI accelerator microbeam facility aimed to understand response of newly developed semiconductor detectors to charges particles. During his visit, Mr. Winkler also held a practical training and seminar for RBI senior staff, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers on characterization of silicon strip detectors.
Outcomes of the kick-off event were invitations to the Project manager dr. Soić to present the project at events attended by possible collaborators:
- Meeting of the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC) “Astroparticle in Horizon 2020” held on September 29.–30. 2015. at Sheraton hotel in Zagreb (web page:
- Biannual Workshop of the Croatian Physical Society held on October 5.–7. 2015. in Umag Croatia (web page: in Croatian)
- “Horizon 2020 Workshop - Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation & Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions” jointly organized by European Commission and Croatian Agency for mobility and EU Programmes at hotel Esplanade Zagreb on October 13. 2015. (web page:
Dr. Soić was also invited to give lecture on nuclear astrophysics at the International Summer School of Science Požega 2016, Croatia, attended by high school pupils (3rd and 4th year class). In this occasion he also shortly presented other research activities of the RBI nuclear physics group and project PaRaDeSEC.
Dr. Härkönen participated in the 12th European Conference on Accelerators in Applied Research and Technology (ECAART12), which was held in Jyväskylä, Finland from 3 - 8 July, 2016. In addition to the scientific program of the conference, many discussions with conference delegates were carried out. After the conference, future projects and collaboration between the RBI and Aalto University/ Micronova were discussed with Professor Hele Savin.
Dr. Soić and Dr. Antičić participated in the 2nd INFO DAY Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation in Horizon 2020 in Bruxelles on April 8th. The event was organized by the European Commission to present and discuss the new possibilities for project applications within Horizon 2020 program.
Dr. Härkönen visited the Helsinki Institute of Physics in order to plan detector test campaign at RBI focused proton beam facility on novel pixel detectors processed and designed in collaboration with CMS group of Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) at Micronova facility in Finland. The technical details, such as detector samples, electrical interconnections, irradiation doses etc, of experiment were discussed and planned together with Dr. Eija Tuominen (Director of Helsinki Detector Laboratory) and Dr. Panja Luukka (Head of HIP CMS Upgrade group). The test campaign took place in June. The sample preparations, including e.g. design of dedicated PCB for interconnections, is currently on-going in Helsinki.
Dr. Eija Tuominen and Dr. Panja Luukka visited the Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) with the purpose to establish close collaboration between HIP and RBI. They also held seminar on research activities at HIP related to R&D of semiconductor detectors and discussed and agreed HIP-RBI collaborative research program. They also deliver newly developed semiconductor detectors at HIP for testing and characterization at RBI. Dr. Tuominen is the leader of the Detector Laboratory of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP). Dr. Luukka is the Project Leader of the HIPs CMS Upgrade Project responsible for Finnish hardware contribution to CERN LHC Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment. The silicon pixel detectors transported to RBI were first wire bonded into dedicated PCB boards at premises of the HIP detector laboratory. During the visit, technical details were discussed concerning planned measurements with focused protons at micro beam facility of the Division of experimental physics (DEP) at RBI. Informal collaboration is established and further steps to strengthen this collaborative research program were agreed.
Dr. Ferenček visited CERN regarding potential participation of Croatia as a partner in the Accelerate@CERN program (designed for artists). He also participated in the course on work with silicon pixel detectors of the CMS collaboration and discussed silicon pixel CMS detector related collaboration activities with partners at CERN.
Dr. Antičić and dr. Soić visited the Technische Universität München (TUM) in relation to potential scientific TUM-RBI cooperation on R&D on detectors and related research equipment. Partnership was established by signing formal Memorandum of understanding between HIP and RBI. Both partners agreed they will jointly prepare a project proposal for the call Horizon 2020 Spreading excellence and widening participation, Teaming phase 1. Dr. Antičić and dr. Soić also visited partners at ETH Zurich to discuss their potential participation in the ERA Chair project and agreed participation of ETH in a project proposal for the call Horizon 2020 Spreading excellence and widening participation, Teaming phase 1.
Researchers involved in the project were engaged in RBI Open Day organized in June 2016 by presentations of the Tandem accelerator facility, neutron generator facility and lectures."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Through the ERA Chair project RBI intends to create a Centre for Detectors, Sensors and Electronics (CDSE). CDSE will acquire top people in the relevant area of expertise. The Centre will focus on the development and testing of detector, sensor, and electronics research equipment relevant for nuclear, particle, and astroparticle physics experiments as well as for potential related interdisciplinary and industrial applications. Through this project the current RBI research and development regarding detectors, sensors and electronics research will become much more influential on a world wide scale. In particular, the impacts of the ERA Chair will be:
• Considerably enhanced roles RBI has in large international collaborative projects in nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics research, in particular through larger RBI active participation in detector, sensor and electronics development and testing.
• Substantially increased capacities of RBI for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary applications and technology transfer related to the development, testing and construction of detectors, sensors, and electronics. Promising new applications, prototypes, and potential commercial products are expected already during the last year of the project implementation.
• Institutional changes implemented with the leading role of the ERA Chair, and considerable achievements in implementation of Croatian Smart Specialization Strategy in the domain of the ERA Chair.
• Increased attractiveness of RBI and Croatia for internationally excellent and mobile researchers.
• Increased research excellence of RBI related to detectors, sensors, and electronics.
• Improved performance of the newly formed Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and Sensing Devices (CEMS).
• Contributing to the objectives of the Croatian Smart Specialisation strategies, including increased interactions with economic and social actions, and complementing support provided under the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The ERA Chair is expected to also impact the broader research community and national economy, all of which should contribute to an increased attractiveness of RBI and Croatia in general to top researchers.

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