The Medipix3 Collaboration was formed in 2005 to develop the Medipix3 chip in 130nm CMOS. Thanks to the success of the Collaboration and its organic growth it also developed the Timepix3 chip. Both chips go much further than Medipix2 permitting colour imaging at different rates. Medipix3 provides frame based readout with a continuous read/write feature. Timepix3 uses a data driven architecture to send hot information off chip. The new features of both chips have triggered a range of new application areas for the technology. These chips are available for licensing.

The Medipix3 chip

Medipix3 is a CMOS pixel detector readout chip designed to be connected to a segmented semiconductor sensor. Like its predecessor, Medipix2, it acts as a camera taking images based on the number of particles which hit the pixels when the electronic shutter is open. However, Medipix3 goes much further than Medipix2 permitting colour imaging and dead time free operation. A novel charge summing and allocation scheme is implemented at the pixel level permitting proper binning of the energy of incoming photons overcoming the effects of fluorescence and charge diffusion. As there are 2 counters in each 55μm pixel the chip can be programmed such that one counter is being read out while the other is counting. It is also possible to connect the chip to a sensor matrix with a pitch of 110μm. In this way, up to 8 counters are available per pixel.

The Timepix3 chip

Timepix3 is a general-purpose integrated circuit suitable for readout of both semiconductor detectors and gas-filled detectors. Compared to Timepix1 the circuit has more functionality, better time resolution and more advanced architecture for continuous sparse data readout with zero-suppression. Timepix3 can be used in a wide range of applications varying from X-rays imaging to particle track reconstruction. 

Depending on the application requirements user can choose one out of three data acquisition modes available in the Timepix3. In the data driven mode both arrival time information and charge deposit information are sent off chip for each hit together with the coordinates of the active pixel. The chosen architecture allows for continuous and trigger-free readout of sparsely distributed data with the rate up to 40Mhits•cm-2 •sec-1. For imaging applications and for calibrations the possibility exists of operating in frame-based (non-continuous) data readout mode.

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