The aim of SPADnet is to demonstrate a digital approach to an important photon-starved application, PET, through the development of modules for a small animal/brain scanner. We will achieve enhanced system cost, imaging resolution and manufacturability and size over existing SiPM/PMT technology through our ICT-driven approach to single-photon processing.

The expected detector parameters will be competitive with or better than existing PMT and SiPM solutions whilst offering previously unobtainable per-pixel photon time and position information.

These achievements will allow breakthroughs not only in imaging but also in the way detectors communicate today. Our photonic component will thus be more similar to a sensor node in a sensor network than a stand-alone image sensor. From an ICT perspective, this will open up new avenues to improve flexibility and reconfigurability in existing and future applications. This way, the long-term goal of the project is the establishment of a new hierarchical, tiled manufacturing technology for large area image sensors supported by novel image reconstruction and digital processing. We expect to see this smart, large area, focal plane technology supplant monolithic approaches in diverse photon-starved imaging areas such as X-ray, SPECT, CT, nuclear colliders, particle physics, ground-based telescopes and space-borne astronomy.


Partners' Roles


  • TU Delft: Scientific and Technical Project Coordination. Sensor architecture, SPAD design. Optoelectronic sensor test and evaluation. Distributed system architecture conception and design. Testing of the photonic modules in life sciences applications, including FLIM, FCS, and imaging of photon-starved targets.
  • EPFL: Overall project management and coordination assistance. Internal project assessment and evaluation. Interface to all partners.
  • UEDIN: Detector TCAD modelling and design. Sensor architecture specification. Readout and ancillary block design and simulation. Optoelectronic sensor test and evaluation. Distributed system architecture specification.
  • FBK: Electro-optical characterization of developed sensors. Highly integrated pixel design, chip design and simulations, and layout design and verification of sub-blocks.
  • STMUK: Provision and support of design tools and cell libraries. CMOS image sensor and digital/analogue IC design and consultancy. Chip assembly. Mask preparation. Wafer post-processing. Sensor device (SPAD) characterisation. Prototype module packaging. Mechanical and Optical design and consultancy. Exploitation and dissemination activities.
  • STMFR: Development of design tools and cell libraries. Mask fabrication. Semiconductor wafer manufacturing. Wafer test. Process development and tuning for CMOS SPAD structures.
  • MEDISO: Specification for the SPADnet sensor, design and assembly of the PET ring, implementing image reconstruction, characterisation of the imaging performance of the SPADnet sensor and PET ring.
  • LETI: Light concentrator technology. Packaging of the detector modules. Test of the detector modules. Delivery of functional, tested detector modules for evaluation.
  • BUTE: Optical simulation of the scintillator – CMOS SPAD configurations, optical design of a suitable optical concentrator and the whole photonic module.