Successful demo of the new MIDNA ASIC

In mid-November, Fermilab’s Cosmic Physics Center Fellow Fabricio Alcalde completed the demonstration of the new MIDNA ASIC’s counting single electrons in a skipper-CCD. This successful demonstration constitutes a huge step toward the next generation of large experiments using skipper-CCDs.

Fabricio Alcalde holds the MIDNA ASIC, while pointing to a detailed microscopic photograph of the chip. The laptop screen shows the demonstrated photon-counting performance of the new device. Photo: Fabricio Alcade

The CPC Fellowship program enabled a new collaboration between Alcalde and his group at Centro Atomico Bariloche in Argentina and the PPD ASIC team, led by Farah Fahim. During 2020, Alcalde collaborated remotely, working with the MIDNA design team for the readout of large arrays of skipper-CCDs as planned for the Oscura experiment. He was awarded the CPC Fellowship to visit Fermilab and test this ASIC.

The MIDNA design team was led by Troy England, the ASIC architect who developed the signal-processing chain and implemented the DC restore circuit. Alcalde implemented the preamplifier and buffer. Hongzhi Sun implemented the dual slope integrator, and Leo Stefanazzi from SCD developed the digital logic, which was implemented by Farah Fahim. Davide Braga implemented the chip I/Os. Shaorui Li, Davide Braga and Farah Fahim supervised the team. MIDNA leveraged the cold transistor models and digital libraries developed for the DUNE ASICs.

MIDNA results were presented this year at the CPAD Instrumentation Frontier Workshop meeting, as well as at the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium.