Applied Physics

The focus of the applied physics research at IFAE is to develop sensor technologies with applications in medical imaging, high-energy physics and other scientific or industrial fields by exploting the valuable knowledge available at IFAE and fostering collaborations with other research centres in Catalonia like the Centro Nacional de Microelectronica (CNM), medical centers like Hospital Parc Taulí, or companies like Multiscan Technologies.

Since 1999, IFAE has developed advanced medical imaging devices. IFAE joined the CERN-based Medipix collaboration, and led an EU FP5 project generating various patents and a spin-off company. In 2009 M. Chmeissani was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant (VIP) to develop a novel detector concept for PET, based on CdTe detectors featuring 3D pixels (voxels). The main goal of the group has been the development of innovative and disruptive imaging pixel sensors.

LINDA (X-ray LINe Detector with novel photon counting ASIC) is a pixel CdTe sensor with a built-in fast algorithm to minimize the charge sharing among neighboring pixels and thus maintain the spectral X-ray energy information per pixel. This algorithm has been granted a patent in China, EU, Japan, and USA. IFAE built a 20 cm long line camera and tested it in a commercial X-ray scan machine for food quality control in 2021. The Deep-Detection spin-off company was constituted in 2020 to exploit the LINDA technology.

i-Vision is a project to develop an adaptive retinal implant technology for vision restoration. This R&D is carried out by IFAE in collaboration with ICN2, the Barraquer Ophthalmology Hospital (Barcelona), ICFO and Institut de la Vision (Paris). A retinal prosthesis electrically stimulates neurons in a precise pattern to re-create vision sensation. Its microelectronics, which is IFAE’s responsibility, implements adaptive stimulation strategies and a novel technology, to power and to control the prosthesis optically.

IFAE collaborates with a group from Leitat Technological Center (Spain) for the development of a liquid biopsy setup (PHIL), an analysis tool in the diagnosis and follow up of cancer treatment. The project was funded by an ATTRACT grant (H2020) coordinated by IFAE.

In 2022, G. Ariño-Estrada was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to develop a new detector module for TOF-PET systems at IFAE. He will join IFAE in July 2023.