Minutes of the 13th LHC Electronics Board held on 19 March 1999.


P. Borgeaud, F. Formenti, S. Quinton, J. Christiansen, F. Corsi, Ph. Farthouat, G. Hall, M. Letheren, E. Petrolo,
P. Sharp Chairman), G. Stefanini, W. Smith, M. Turala, G. Viertel.

Apologies: V. Radeka, M. Schmelling.

1.     Minutes of the twelfth meeting

The minutes of the twelfth meeting were approved.

2.     Matters arising from the minutes

Exploration of potential synergies between the IEEE NSS/MIC Conference Lyon 15-20 Oct 2000) and a year 2000 LEB workshop probably to take place in September 2000) should be continued.

3.     Preparation for the 1999 LEB Workshop at Snowmass

W. Smith reported that preparations are progressing well. The contract with the conference centre has been signed and the workshop web site at http://hep.physics.wisc.edu/LEB99 now supports electronic workshop registration, hotel reservation and submission of abstracts. Local computing facilities will be arranged by FNAL. The deadline for abstract submission is 30 April. Suggestions for sponsors and/or industrial exhibitors are still needed.

4.     Safety issues concerning the use of standard FR4 printed circuit board material

The Board discussed a presentation by M.Tavlet CERN/TIS) pointing out that the industry-standard FR4 material used in the substrate of printed circuit boards is incompatible with the CERN safety instruction IS.41. This safety instruction regulates the use of materials containing halogens because they produce halogenated acids and toxic smoke in case of fire. According to M. Tavlet, an international consortium of companies is investigating the feasibility of halogen-free materials for printed circuit board substrates. Members of the Board expressed their doubts that these developments will result in affordable, widely available and well proven alternative materials that can be incorporated into LHC designs in time for the launch of the production phase. After discussing other aspects of safety in the LHC experiments, the Board identified the need to clarify certain safety issues in the complex LHC detectors. The main issues that the Board believes should be addressed include the strengthening of a global systems approach to risk analysis, clarifying an acceptable degree of flexibility in the interpretation of individual safety regulations, an interim strategy for improved compliance with IS-41, and the application of realistic qualification procedures.

5.     RD49 Status Report

The Board congratulated the RD49 collaboration on the results presented in the second status report on its 'study of the radiation tolerance of ICs for LHC'. The milestones set after the first status report had been very well met:

- a detailed study of Total Dose and Single Event Effects in commercial-grade quarter micron CMOS technology had confirmed the validity of the radiation- tolerant design approach;

- two prototype mixed analog-digital ASICs using the radiation-tolerant design method had been successfully fabricated and tested and practical radiation- tolerant design know-how was being transferred to several LHC development teams;

- a market survey and call for tender had resulted in a single commercial quarter micron CMOS foundry being selected for the establishment of a blanket purchase agreement for HEP applications;

- Assistance with access to various radiation databases had been given to the LHC collaborations and the specification and development of a common radiation- tolerant voltage regulator for LHC and Space applications had been organized with a large Semiconductor manufacturer.

The Board recommended the continuation of the project for a further year with the following milestones:

- For the selected quarter micron technology: i) complete the study of Single Event Effects and develop upset-tolerant circuit designs flip-flops, etc.); ii) complete the study of the analog characteristics of the process matching, noise, dynamic range, analog models); iii) develop standard monitoring structures for inclusion on future runs.

- Continue the transfer of the radiation-tolerant design technique to LHC development teams ALICE and LHCb pixels, ALICE SDD, CMS and LHCb tracker front-ends, Gbit/s detector readout link for ATLAS and CMS, etc.)

- Complete the development and characterization of the radiation-tolerant voltage regulator together with the semiconductor manufacturer)

The Board invited members of the RD49 collaboration to submit a proposal for a new project to organize support and maintenance for the radiation-tolerant design method in the chosen quarter micron technology design kit for Cadence CAE platform, radiation-tolerant standard cell library, multi-project-wafer runs, access to special CAE tools, etc.).

6.     Common Project on COTS components

The Board welcomed a proposal1 for a project framework to coordinate the selection, evaluation and procurement of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf COTS) components for use in the radiation environments of the LHC. The Board confirmed its conviction that the subject of this proposal is an issue that is crucial to the success of the electronics in the LHC experiments. It was agreed that a considerable global effort is needed and that this would have to be provided mostly by members of the LHC collaborations. However, the Board recognized the importance of an effective coordination activity to ensure the maximum dissemination of information and sharing of expertise. The Board therefore recommended that the project be approved with the proposed objectives. Two main objectives were identified as being of primary importance:

- Define and document on the web) appropriate test procedures for identifying COTS electronic components and sub-systems that will operate reliably in the particular radiation environments of the LHC experiments and the LHC machine.

- Organize an appropriate database framework to facilitate the collection and sharing of the results of the above defined test procedures for the various COTS components and subsystems.

7.     A.O.B.

The next meeting was confirmed for 18 June 1999.


1) F. Faccio et al,  A project framework to coordinate the selection, evaluation and procurement of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf COTS) components for use in the radiation environments of the LHC, CERN/LEB 99-4, LEB/P1.