A number of studies carried out either as physics experiments or as part of our R&D programs lead to innovations that may be of
interest to other research centers or industries.
- PET: Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a well-established nuclear medicine technique for visualization and quantification of
metabolism and different biological processes at the cellular level. PET requires fast and efficient detectors coupled to fast readout
electronics for technological implementation. The ICCUB engineers, in collaboration with the instrumentation group from CIEMAT, have designed
the FlexToT ASICs family based on linearized time over threshold which combined with TDCs implemented in FPGAs enables reconfigurable
systems. The last and improved version, known as HRFlexToT (High Resolution Flexible Time-over-Threshold),
has extended the dynamic range in order to work with monolithic crystals and has a Single Photon Time Resolution (SPTR) as low as 140 ps
FWHM for 3x3 mm^2 SiPM devices (30% better than similar ASICs) with a power consumption of 3.5 mW/ch. This research line interests
companies related to sensor devices. They are currently testing the ASIC in different setup configurations.
- MATRIX: Design and implementation of a 4-channel and 10-ps TDC ASIC in a 180 nm technology. The novel
architecture of the chip provides high Time-of-Arrival resolution with 50 MHz conversion rate keeping power consumption as low as 11 mW
per channel. This new TDC technology is being improved by reducing power consumption and adding new capabilities such as pulse width
measurement (Time-over-Threshold), and increasing ASIC density to 16 channels.
- Nanosatelites: Design and implementation of a high-performance multipurpose platform for cubesats that can be adapted to different commercial
and scientific uses. It provides a robust on-board computer with redundancy to control the spacecraft state and telecommands, a versatile
software-defined radio based on a high end FPGA SoC providing high-speed downlink capabilities, a powerful on-board data handling system,
and an efficient on-ground telecommand and basic data handling framework. This solution will
push the cubesat concept to its limits, achieving performances for which larger-sized missions would otherwise be required.
- Data compression: The Gaia Optimum Compression Algorithm (GOCA) ESA TRP study led to the conception of PEC and its adaptive version
FAPEC (Fully Adaptive Prediction Error Coder), an efficient entropy coding algorithm providing compression efficiencies often better than
an ideal Huffman coder. FAPEC was patented and transferred to DAPCOM, a spin-off company participated by the UB and UPC. This solution
has many applications, such as data compression onboard satellites or drones, massive data compression for genomics, geosciences,
astronomical observatories or high-performance computing systems.
Different studies in instrumentation and computation engineering have produce the following patents:
Title: Resistive interpolation mesh circuit for time-to-digital converters
Title: Summation for multi-channel photomultiplier array signals
Title: Readout circuits for multi-channel photomultiplier arrays.
Title: Circuito en modo corriente de primera etapa frontal para la lectura de sensores y circuito integrado
Title: Method for the completely adaptive calibration of a prediction error encoder
Technological developments at the ICCUB are made either by scientific staff associated to a given technology-based project, or by the
Technology Unit which is the ICCUB service unit specialized in instrumentation, electronics, software engineering and computer
science. Research Knowledge Transfer