Design of Pixellated CMOS Photon Detector for Secondary Electron Detection in the Scanning Electron Microscope

03 Oct 2017

This paper presents a novel method of detecting secondary electrons generated in the scanning electron microscope (SEM). The method suggests that the photomultiplier tube (PMT), traditionally used in the Everhart-Thornley (ET) detector, is to be replaced with a configurable multipixel solid-state photon detector offering the advantages of smaller dimension, lower supply voltage and power requirements, and potentially cheaper product cost. The design of the proposed detector has been implemented using a standard 0.35 μm CMOS technology with optical enhancement. This microchip comprises main circuit constituents of an array of photodiodes connecting to respective noise-optimised transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs), a selector-combiner (SC) circuit, and a postamplifier (PA). The design possesses the capability of detecting photons with low input optical power in the range of 1 nW with 100 μm × 100 μm sized photodiodes and achieves a total amplification of 180 dBΩ at the output.