PNSensor GmbH is an internationally acknowledged company in the field of research and development of advanced radiation detectors.
The company was founded in the neighborhood of the Max-Planck-Institutes for Extraterrestrial Physics and for Physics as well as
the Semiconductor Laboratory of the Max-Planck-Institutes (MPI Halbleiterlabor) in June 2002. PNSensor conducts research and development
tasks on its own responsibility in the field of radiation detectors.
The key competence of PNSensor is the development of detectors for space research,
for middle as well as high energy physics and material analysis. Employees of PNSensor
are or have been part of the development, production and the qualification of radiation detectors for
the following projects:
a satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA), which was launched in 1999 and since then is sending excellent pictures of the
firmament in the X-ray field down to earth. It is providing us with answers about the creation of stars. Part of the responsible
focal instrument is the pn-CCD. With its area of 6 × 6 cm²
it is the largest X-ray-CCD ever built.
equipped with wide high sensitive pin-diodes, is sending exciting pictures and spectra of the corona of the sun.
a successfully approved project of the 6th Framework
Program of the European Community (EU).) to detect soft x-radiation emitted from kaonic atoms to analyze the central parameters
of the strong interactions. In 2005, PNSensor designed and developed a
large area multi-channel Silicon Drift Detector Array. All measured layout and technology
parameters are within the specifications of the SIDDHARTA project. SIDDHARTA equivalent 3 cm² large SDDs have been developed,
produced, mounted and bonded. Their spectroscopy test results demonstrate the ideal device with an energy resolution of about 140 eV.
At a temperature < 150 K the energy resolution will approach a value well below close to the ultimate Fano limit.
- DRAGO (DRift detector Array based Gamma camera for Oncology),
new, large SDD-fields in combination with scintillators for γ-radiation detection
for cancer research in cooperation with the Italian National Research Authority (INFN) and the Politecnico di Milano in 2008.
In conjunction with the DRAGO project large areas with such components were realized.
PNSensor designed a monolithic SDD field with 77 hexagonal cells and a cell area of 8.6 mm² on a 33 × 36 mm² chip,
which leads to an active area of 6.6 cm².
- eRosita, development of low power, high-resolution sensors of the type
"Large Area pn-CCD", applicable for imaging of future satellite missions. The pn-CCD sensors with a pixel size of
75 µm facilitate a 12 cm² detector area with a 8 cm² imaging field. PNSensor worked on the design and
layout as well as the elaboration of the technology and the following fabrication of the detectors from 2006 until 2010.
After the first unsatisfying results with regard to the development of the radiation entrance window further research was executed.
This led to a new method by producing a filter layer with maximum
suppression of visible light
at minimal thickness of the radiation entrance window. Furthermore the CCDs had to be qualified electrical and spectroscopic
to demonstrate their brilliant characteristics for satellite experiments.
- LBT, development of a
wavefront sensor camera for the modern large adaptive optics (AO) systems at
the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) with start in 2008. AO systems are dedicated to reduce the atmospheric seeing over a
certain field of view and will thereby enable almost diffraction limited observations of astronomic objects. Basis of the
AO systems are fully depleted fast pn-CCDs with high quantum efficiency and an
anti-reflective coating (ARC) within the entrance window for the optimized detection of optical photons. The suitability was
demonstrated with an Engineering Model camera. Three Science Model cameras will be integrated into the ARGOS system as
wavefront sensors for further testing and evaluation.
the up to now largest and most powerful X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL), the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS),
went into operation at the Stanford National Linear Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) in 2009. After the successful commissioning
of the first beam-line, the interest to perform experiments at that place with the CFEL-ASG Multi-Purpose Instrument (CAMP) started growing.
The CAMP instrument was developed, built and installed in a close collaboration of the Max-Planck Advanced-Study Group (MPG-ASG),
PNSensor and the photon science group of DESY in 2009. The unique combination of two high-resolution imaging pnCCD detectors together
with ion and electron spectrometers allows for a large variety of experiments.
a new Mercury mission of the ESA is a common project of the European and Japanese space agency with the intention
to study Mercury with improved possibilities. The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS) is planned as one of
the instruments on BepiColombo, which is supposed to analyze the chemical composition of the planet surface.
MIXS will contain a DEPFET Macro-pixel detector developed by PNSensor and shows remarkably higher energy and spatial resolution.
- Internal research, with its own resources PNSensor promotes the developement
of a compact high-resolution Color X-Ray Camera (CXC) for the use as a Bench-Top-Instrument for the
µXRF region or the
synchrotron region. For this we use more and more
Also there are projects to detect low-energy protons
and electrons (BSE detectors, TEM-Direct Converting CCD Camera).
- New Macro-pixel Fields,
for cancer research in cooperation with the Italian National Research Authority (INFN) and the Politecnico di Milano.
- Several research and development tasks in industry for the use of Silicon-Drift-Detectors
in material analysis, quality control and art research.