Current Programmed Active Pixel Sensors for Large Area Diagnostic X-ray Imaging
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Rapid progress over the last decade on large area thin film transistor (TFT) arrays led to the emergence of high-performance, low-power, low-cost active matrix flat panel imagers. Despite the shortcomings associated with the instability and low mobility of TFTs, the amorphous silicon TFT technology still remains the primary solution for the backplane of flat panel imagers. The use of a-Si:H TFTs as the building block of the large area integrated circuit becomes challenging particularly when the role of the TFT is extended from traditional switching applications to on-pixel signal amplifier for large area digital imaging. This is the idea behind active pixel sensor (APS) architectures in which under each pixel an amplifier circuit consisting of one or two switching TFTs integrated with one amplifying TFT is fabricated. To take advantage of the full potential of these amplifiers, it is crucial to develop APS architectures to compensate for the limitations of the TFTs. In this thesis several APS architectures are designed, simulated, fabricated, and tested addressing these challenges using the mask sets presented in Appendix A. The proposed APS architectures can compensate for inherent stabilities of the comprising TFTs. Therefore, the sensitivity of their output data to the transistor variations is significantly suppressed. This is achieved by using a well defined external current source instead of the traditional voltage source to reset the APS architectures during the reset cycle of their periodic operation. The performance of these circuits is analyzed in terms of their stability, settling time, noise, and temperature-dependence. For appropriate readout of the current mode APS architectures, high gain transresistance amplifiers with correlated double sampling capability is designed, simulated and fabricated in CMOS technology. Measurement and measurement based calculation results reveal that the proposed APS architectures can meet even the stringent requirements of low noise, real-time digital fluoroscopy.