STREAM Research

The STREAM ITN will make substantial contributions to an internationally coordinated effort to train researchers on designing, manufacturing and testing of future radiation detectors. The research and training programme covers innovative, radiation-hard CMOS¹ imaging sensors, implemented as smart monolithic and hybrid CMOS sensors, interconnection and packaging technologies, and high-performance integrated systems for High Energy Physics research and innovative industrial applications, such as ultra-high resolution electron microscopy, medical X-ray imaging and environmental sensors.


The main research objective is to develop novel technologies for innovative scientific and industrial instrument design, manufacturing and application. The starting technology background is given by the current Particle Physics experiments at Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Its detectors are, because of their extreme operational requirements, technology drivers for radiation instrumentation and path the way for future exploitation in medical and industrial applications. 

These challenges constitute a unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary industry collaboration and research on key enabling technologies -developed in this project- such as:

  • Novel High Voltage (HV) and High-resistivity (HR) imaging (CIS, DMAPS) CMOS-based technologies and production processes.
  • Advanced design and layout for application specific CMOS-based smart sensors.
  • Innovative technology integration, implementation and qualification procedures leading to open new standardization.

Research & Applications

STREAM has the following research objectives:

  • Design and production of radiation tolerant CMOS sensors for scientific as well as industrial applications with leading European companies in the field
  • Develop high-reliability, IC to sensor ultra-fine pitch bonding process for very thin, large area ASICs as well as innovative 3D packaging using through-silicon-vias and redistribution layers will be essential for system integration.
  • Optimize CMOS and HV CMOS processing and design for X-ray and Near-Infrared (NIR) detection in medical, industrial, space and avionics applications and beam line instrumentation.
  • Develop ultra-high resolution electron microscopy systems with focus on new radiation-hard sensors for very fast readout, high DQE and high dynamic range.


These technological opportunities also have significant impact in critical European sectors such as Automotive (i.e. HV CMOS for intelligent power switch, integrated protections and self-diagnostic), Aerospace (i.e. radiation hard sensors for satellites, aircrafts), Medical Imaging (i.e. image sensors for advanced X-ray detectors, Near Infra-Red Sensors), Manufacturing Industry (i.e. industrial tomography), Material Research and Nano-electronics (i.e. using Transmission Electron Microscopy – TEM).

STREAM Research Work Packages

The STREAM programme is designed to address the scientific goals and provide a connective training programme for the STREAM researchers. Training is carried out in five interconnected research projects in the fields of applied physics, microelectronics, system integration, innovation management/(corporate) entrepreneurship/knowledge and technology transfer.

STREAM Research and Training Topic


Assess potential of advanced HV and imaging CMOS processes against end-user specification for industrial application and particle physics.


CMOS Technologies Assessment

Optimize the sensor design and functionality along specifications for different processes (hybrid and monolithic detector designs and layouts).


Smart Sensor Design and Layout


Validation and Qualification using different sensor technologies, signal formation and processing, interconnection techniques, irradiation studies and performance evaluation.


Validation and Qualification


System Integration to HEP and industrial applications. Construct and test prototype modules based on Smart CMOS Sensors and evaluate their performance in different applications.


Technology Integration

Innovation management, technological competence leveraging (identification and evaluation of application fields for STREAM technologies), market studies, business model development and commercialization strategies.





WP2: CMOS Technologies Assessment

CMOS processes are industrially available in a large variety and can provide high-performance sensors at reduced costs. Among them are HV/HR-CMOS and imaging processes featuring high breakdown voltages and moderate to large depletion zones, thereby enabling much higher radiation-hardness than present state-of-the-art monolithic active pixel sensors (MAPS) for imaging applications².

The enlarged depleted volume under deep n-wells allows the efficient detection of charge particles as well as enhanced X-rays and near-infrared (NIR) quantum detection efficiency (QDE). Our research tailors the sensor processing to requirements of large size future scientific instruments as well as cost-effective sensor components for industrial applications. 

Design and tests of different CMOS technologies are at the center of this activity to improve their radiation hardness 10 to 100 fold over present CMOS sensors. 

WP3: Smart Sensor Design and Layout 

STREAM focuses on the layout of smart sensors and full monolithic ICs in radiation-hard CMOS technologies. Radiation hardness is achieved through special layout techniques and biasing of the substrate to create an extended depleted zone. Solutions to harden monolithic sensor towards ionization damage will be investigated and implemented in demonstrator sensors. STREAM will focus on enhancing the radiation hardness of existing CMOS technologies to penetrate new market segments: medical (X-ray detection), industrial and avionics applications (X-ray and NIR detection).

WP4: Validation and Qualification

With fabricated sensors our focus will grow towards validation and qualification of sensors in laboratory, irradiations campaigns and test beams. The stringent requirements for next-generation imaging and tracking sensors will need to be optimized for spatial resolution, charge collection efficiency, fast signal response and operational stability. We evaluate the different CMOS sensors with readout electronics for monolithic and hybrid implementations and fully explore the technological advantages of CMOS and to optimize smart sensors to application specific requirements.

WP5: Technology Integration

The integration of CMOS sensors to functional modules will path the way towards applications in the High Energy Physics as well as for feasibility tests in electron microscopy, NIR & X-ray sensors and multi-functional environmental sensors. Novel packaging technologies using 3D integration, through-silicon vias³ and redistribution layers are exploited for integration to hybrid pixel detectors which combined analogue functionality in the sensor with digital processing in separate ASICs. Our projects are application specific and target developments for detector systems at CERN and prototype modules for STREAM industrial applications where radiation hardness, fast signal processing and low-cost manufacturing are of prime importance.

WP6: Valorisation

Potential fields of industrial application will be systematically evaluated towards viable commercialization strategies. STREAM also provides the framework where wide knowledge-sharing of the research to industry and academia inside and outside the project happens. The development of business cases for different applications are essential part of STREAM mission and allows to provide business training for STREAM fellows. 

¹ Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) is a technology for constructing integrated circuits.

² M. Backhaus et al., Radiation-hard Active HV/HR-CMOS Pixel Sensors for HL-LHC Detector Upgrades, 10th International Conference on Position Sensitive Detectors, IOP Journal of Instrumentation 2014.

³ M. Barbero, et al., A via last TSV process applied to ATLAS pixel modules: proof of principle demonstration, JINST 7 P08008 (2012).

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