First results on DEPFET Active Pixel Sensors fabricated in a CMOS foundry - a promising approach for new detector development and scientific instrumentation
DEPFET Active Pixel Sensors (APS) have been introduced as focal plane detectors for X-ray astronomy already in 1996. Fabricated on high resistivity, fully depleted silicon and back-illuminated they can provide high quantum efficiency and low noise operation even at very high read rates. In 2009 a new type of DEPFET APS, the DSSC (DEPFET Sensor with Signal Compression) was developed, which is dedicated to high-speed X-ray imaging at the European X-ray free electron laser facility (EuXFEL) in Hamburg. In order to resolve the enormous contrasts occurring in Free Electron Laser (FEL) experiments, this new DSSC-DEPFET sensor has the capability of nonlinear amplification, that is, high gain for low intensities in order to obtain single-photon detection capability, and reduced gain for high intensities to achieve high dynamic range for several thousand photons per pixel and frame. We call this property "signal compression". Starting in 2015, we have been fabricating DEPFET sensors in an industrial scale CMOS foundry maintaining the outstanding proven DEPFET properties and adding new capabilities due to the industrial-scale CMOS process. We will highlight these additional features and describe the progress achieved so far. In a first attempt on double-sided polished 725 mm thick 200 mm high resistivity float zone silicon wafers all relevant device related properties have been measured, such as leakage current, depletion voltage, transistor characteristics, noise and energy resolution for X-rays and the nonlinear response. The smaller feature size provided by the new technology allows for an advanced design and significant improvements in device performance. A brief summary of the present status will be given as well as an outlook on next steps and future perspectives.