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The performance and limitations of a novel detector technology based on the deposition of a thin-film sensor on top of processed integrated circuits have been studied. Hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) films have been deposited on top of CMOS circuits developed for these studies and the resulting "thin-film on ASIC" (TFA) detectors are presented. The leakage current of the a-Si:H sensor at high reverse biases turns out to be an important parameter limiting the performance of a TFA detector. Its detailed study and the pixel segmentation of the detector are presented. High internal electric fields (in the order of 104-105 V/cm) can be built in the a-Si:H sensor and overcome the low mobility of electrons and holes in a-Si:H. Signal induction by generated carrier motion and speed in the a-Si:H sensor have been studied with a 660 nm pulsed laser on a TFA detector based on an ASIC integrating 5 ns peaking time pre-amplifiers. The measurement set-up also permits to study the depletion of the sensor and results are presented. Finally, direct detection of 5.9 keV X-rays with TFA detectors based on an ASIC integrating low noise pre-amplifiers (27 e- r.m.s.) are shown.