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An overview of ionizing radiation effects in imagers manufactured in a 0.18-mum CMOS image sensor technology is presented. Fourteen types of image sensors are characterized and irradiated by a 60Co source up to 5 kGy. The differences between these 14 designs allow us to separately estimate the effect of ionizing radiation on microlenses, on low- and zero-threshold-voltage MOSFETs and on several pixel layouts using P+ guard-rings and edgeless transistors. After irradiation, wavelength dependent responsivity drops are observed. All the sensors exhibit a large dark current increase attributed to the shallow trench isolation that surrounds the photodiodes. Saturation voltage rises and readout chain gain variations are also reported. Finally, the radiation hardening perspectives resulting from this paper are discussed.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2009