ESE overview

The mandate of the ESE group is to provide electronics systems for the experiments running in CERN’s accelerator complex. This covers aspects of R&D, production, testing, installation, maintenance and support.

ESE supports a number of different projects which are either specific to a particular system or satisfy common requirements across many systems and experiments.

The developments in ESE strike a balance between the use of custom and off-the-shelf components. Radiation tolerance is often a key issue and drives much of ESE's research into technology, design and testing.

The micro-electronics (ME) section designs Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). Typically, these ASICs are for processing the small signals generated by particle detectors and are designed according to stringent requirements on power, noise and radiation-tolerance. Other important developments are in the field of high-speed data transmission and point-of-load power regulation.

The front-end (FE) section designs and maintains on-detector electronic systems, integrating custom components for signal processing, data transmission and power distribution. This requires close collaboration with the other sections and often includes mechanical and cooling aspects. Designs are often constrained by special requirements such as radiation-tolerance and the use of low-mass material.

The back-end (BE) section designs and maintains off-detector electronic systems. This includes modules equipped with high-end FPGAs for data processing and transmission, as well as precisely timed signal distribution for control and synchronisation in the experiments. The development of radiation-tolerant opto-electronic components is another major field of research.

ESE also acts as a point-of-contact to the wider high-energy-physics community, providing a number of key services, in particular:

  • rental service for high-end instrumentation;
  • support of ASIC design, including consultancy, tools and technology access;
  • long-term support of power-supply systems and crate infrastructure, including maintenance and procurement.

In the community of CERN collaborations and participating institutes, ESE has a number of responsibilities in coordinating specific system developments, conceiving electronics architectures and guiding their implementation within the experiments.

ESE maintains strong links with the R&D and industrial sectors to benefit from cutting-edge technologies and trends.

Point-of-load DC/DC convertors (Image: CERN)
Mezzanine for optical network testing (Image: CERN)
Low-mass hybrid circuit (Image: CERN)