Invited papers
Invited Papers

L. Benini (DEIS Università di Bologna - CIS Stanford University)
"Wireless Sensor Networks: enabling technology for AmI"

Wireless sensor networks are emerging as one of the key technologies instrumental to the materialization of the Ambient Intelligence vision.
In this talk I will survey the current status of evolution of sensor Networks, from hardware platforms to communication protocols and middleware.
Finally, I will outline key challenges as well as future prospects and market exploitation outlook.

M. Campbell, (PH Department, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland)
“Single event processing for imaging applications”

Tracking detectors in high energy physics experiments are required to record single high energy events with very precise spatial and time resolution while consuming minimal power. These requirements have driven the development of hybrid pixel detectors which are now being used extensively in experiments. Such detectors use a combination of multi-channel VLSI readout chips and equally segmented detectors. In recent times the approach has led to spin-off applications in fields outside of high energy particle physics. This talk will focus on how such techniques are being used
now in physics and in other fields of science with a special emphasis on the Medipix2 system. The talk will also attempt to address possible future developments in this field.

A. D'Amico (Uni Roma)
“Can the dimensions reduction of sensors be a winning strategy?”

New emerging technologies allow the fabrication and control of smaller and smaller devices. Sensors look with curiosity to the nanotechnology development and hope that new material properties can emerge in nanovolumes through the new behaviour of electron, hole and photons. Once the new properties have been evidenced the main problem remains to bring them to the real world where the sensors are utilized. This operation is not easy and not always possible. In this presentation the dimensionality problems of sensors will be considered including some aspects related to the fluctuations of electrical quantities which represent the main limitation to high resolution values of modern sensors.

F. Docchio (Uni Brescia):
“State-of-art, current developments and applications of optical depth sensors and interfaces”

Optical sensors for the acquisition of three dimensional shapes of complex objects have reached, in the last years, a considerable degree of interest for a number of applications. The miniaturization and integration of optical and electronic components that build them, plays a crucial role in the achievement of compactness, robustness and flexibility of the sensors. Today, several optical sensors are available in the market, combined to other sensors in a “sensor fusion” approach. An importance equal to that of physical miniaturization is given to the portability of the measurements, via suitable interfaces, into software environments designed for their elaboration, e.g., CAD-CAM systems, virtual renders, Rapid Prototyping tools.
Our Laboratory has been active for years in the development of innovative instrumentation and gauging devices for non-contact depth measurements. These are both stand-alone, and in combination with Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM's) or other measurement instrumentation. Together with the development of measuring devices and strategies, the Laboratory has developed complete data handling architectures.
In this paper, following an overview of the state-of-art of depth sensors, a number of significant examples of their use is presented, with particular reference to the domains of Reverse Engineering and Rapid Prototyping.

M. Kayal (EPFL):
“Automatic Calibration of Hall Sensor Mycrosystems”

Hall sensor microsystems and its analogue front-end suffer from the drift due to temperature variations, mechanical stress and ageing. This presentation deals with the state of the art and main techniques capable to detect and compensate these issues. Two categories of systems are considered: the continuous-time systems, where the signal processing is performed continuously and the sampled systems, where signal is observed at fixed time intervals. Case studies of industrial applications using mentioned techniques are also presented.

A.Longoni, Politecnico di Milano and INFN
“Monolithic arrays of Silicon Drift Detectors for high resolution X and Gamma ray spectroscopy and imaging.”

The Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) are characterized by an excellent energy resolution in X-ray spectroscopy (comparable or even better than that of the classical Si(Li) or HPGe detectors) and by a very high detection rate (the optimum processing of the signals is more than one order of magnitude shorter than that of the classical detectors). Moreover the SDDs can be operated at a temperature near to the room one (about -10 °C, easily reached by means of simple Peltier coolers) while the classical Si(Li) or HPGe must be cooled at the Liquid Nitrogen temperature. In recent years different kinds of monolithic arrays of independent SDDs have been developed, fabricated and successfully tested. Other SDD arrays are in advanced stage of development. The subdivision of the active detection region of the detector in several independent units allows, from one side, to increase the overall detection rate and to keep an excellent energy resolution without cooling at a lower temperature the device and, from another side, gives to the detector the capability to discriminate the photons in function of their interaction position. This last capability is useful both imaging and in spectroscopic applications (for instance in spectroscopy it could be important to skip the regions interested by Bragg reflections, which generally are concentrated only in few of the independent SDDs). Special geometries of the arrays allow to optimize the structure of the detection apparatus, by increasing , for instance in X-ray spectroscopy, the solid angle for the collection of the fluorescence and by minimizing the distance from the sample to the detector (reducing in this way the absorption from the air of low energy photons). Moreover, two dimensional monolithic arrays of SDDs, optically coupled to scintillating crystals, have proven to be excellent imaging detectors for Gamma rays, characterized by a spatial resolution much better than that of more conventional systems. In this talk, the basic concepts related to the monolithic arrays of SDDs are introduced and the structures and performances of several arrays recently developed are presented. A few applications in material analysis (elemental mapping) and biomedical imaging (high resolution Anger cameras) are discussed. A discussion about the electronic readout systems specifically studied for multi-element SDDs arrays concludes the talk.

D. Marioli (Dip. di Elettronica per l'automazione - Università di Brescia, Italy)
"Signal conditioning electronics for sensors in industrial and instrumentation applications"

Sensor interface electronic design needs to account for different factors like topology, characteristics and environmental and working conditions of sensors, interfering quantities affecting the sensor response and many other parameters.
In process automation and measurement instrumentation, classical sensors are still mainly used. In addition, many efforts are being devoted to replace them by new semiconductor-based sensors as MEMS and MOEMS in those applications where this is economically and technically feasible.
In such fields, moreover, specialized applications are encountered, which require specifically designed interface circuits.
In this talk I will present the results of the research activities of our group in developing and designing signal conditioning circuits for some sensors topology for both industrial and laboratory instrumentation applications.
Specialized circuits for variable resistance sensors and for resonant sensors will be discussed.

S. Mir (TIMA):
“Built-In-Self-Test techniques for MEMS”

As predicted by technology roadmaps, embedded MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) is yet another step in the continuous search for higher levels of integration and miniaturisation. MEMS are analogue components and the test paradigm is similar as for analogue and mixed-signal circuits. But given the fact that they work with signals other than electrical, the test of these embedded parts poses new challenges. In this paper, we will introduce the field of MEMS integrated test and we will present Built-In-Self-Test techniques for MEMS that are currently under development.

P. O'Connor (BNL, Upton, NY, USA)
"Sensor electronics for medical and security applications"

Specialized microelectronics have become an essential element of large-scale scientific research, especially in particle physics. Designers from the research community have recently turned their attention to the problems of radiation detection in the applied fields of medicine and security assurance, which share many of the same requirements:
- the need to detect low levels of radiation with high sensitivity
- the ability to accurately discriminate photons by energy
- the need to handle data from highly-segmented detector arrays
- sensitivity to cost, complexity, and power dissipation.
In this talk I will present several CMOS circuits developed in our Laboratory that cover the fields of nuclear medicine, PET, isotope identification, and explosives detection. I will also discuss some points regarding the commercialization process for intellectual property developed in the U.S. national laboratories.

P.Spinelli (INFN Bari)
"Advances in radiation detectors for space"

In the last two decades the research development in fundamental physics has encouraged a growing number of research groups from INFN, CNR, INAF institutions to propose and set up experiments to carry out in outer space by means of Russian and US launchers. Many experimental activities have been implemented on the Shuttle, increasing mass satellites, MIR and recently on the International Space Station. These activities consist also of in the construction of advanced detectors qualified for launch and space environment; the research and development of innovative techniques for radiation detection in extreme experimental conditions is primarily accomplished in our home laboratories and is based on the experienced gained in accelerator physics.
In this talk, after a brief outlook on the past detectors installed on the first research satellites, the latest generation radiation detectors and associated electronics are reviewed with particular emphasis on detectors for charged particles, X and gamma- rays.

L. Torsi (Università di Bari, Italy)
"Organic Thin Film Transistors as Plastic Chemical and Biological Sensors"

Organic thin-film transistors have seen a dramatic improvement of their performance in the last decade. Recently they have been also proposed as gas sensors. This invited presentation deals with the interesting new aspects that polycrystalline based conducting polymer transistors present when operating as sensors. This a fast developing field and such devices are capable to deliver a multi-parameter response, moreover these responses are extremely repeatable and fast at room temperature. Interesting are also the perspectives for their use as chemically and biologically selective devices also in array-type sensing systems.

A. Vacchi (INFN Trieste)
“Large Area Silicon drift detectors: from device modeling to mass production”

In this report we present the work of simulation that has been carried out to determine and refine the design of the ALICE Silicon Drift Detector. The simulation phase is fundamental to get a full comprehension of the device, and as a consequence, it allows the designer to reduce the R&D times and costs. First we provide a general description of the detector as it is in its final design. Then we give a detailed description of the simulation performed in each part of the device, namely: drift region, collection zone, guard region, charge injectors.

K. Baert (IMEC):
"Technologies for highly miniaturized autonomous sensor networks"

This paper will give an overview of results of the IMEC's human++ research program. This research aims to achieve highly miniaturized and nearly autonomous sensor systems that assist our health and comfort. It combines research on wireless ultra-low power communications, research on 3D integration and flexible technology, energy scavenging techniques, overall low-power circuit design techniques. While these research blocks are generic, the applications typically require dedicated sensors. Several examples of such sensors for on-the-body application will be presented and the roadmap for further sensor integration will be discussed.

B. Vigna (ST Microelectronics)
"Multi-Axis Low-g Inertial Sensors for Automotive and Consumer Applications"

Micromachined Low-g accelerometers once limited to automotive applications are finding now new applications in the consumer industry, like the personal computers and the mobile phones.
The applications based on inertial sensors in the car are mainly aimed to enhance the safety and the stability of the vehicle although in some cases they are also used as antitheft devices.
In the consumer industry, instead, they can be used to protect stored data in Hard Disk Drive based devices in case of shock events and to simplify the interface of the user with own mobile handheld device.
This paper will discuss the technical requirements of the inertial sensors for these two different markets, providing some practical cases of commercially successful STMicroelectronics products.