4DPHOTON - Beyond Light Imaging: High-Rate Single-Photon Detection in Four Dimensions


Goal of the 4DPHOTON project is the development and construction of a photon imaging detector with unprecedented performance. The proposed device will be capable of detecting fluxes of single-photons up to one billion photons per second, over areas of several square centimetres, and will measure - for each photon - position and time simultaneously with resolutions better than ten microns and few tens of picoseconds, respectively. These figures of merit will open many important applications allowing significant advances in particle physics, life sciences or other emerging fields where excellent timing and position resolutions are simultaneously required.

Our goal will be achieved thanks to the use of an application-specific integrated circuit in 65 nm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology, that will deliver a timing resolution of few tens of picoseconds at the pixel level, over few hundred thousand individually-active pixel channels, allowing very high rates of photons to be detected, and the corresponding information digitized and transferred to a processing unit.

As a result of the 4DPHOTON project we will remove the constraints that many light imaging applications have due to the lack of precise single-photon information on four dimensions (4D): the three spatial coordinates and time simultaneously. In particular, we will prove the performance of this detector in the field of particle physics, performing the reconstruction of Cherenkov photon rings with a timing resolution of ten picoseconds. With its excellent granularity, timing resolution, rate capability and compactness, this detector will represent a new paradigm for the realisation of future Ring Imaging Cherenkov detectors, capable of achieving high efficiency particle identification in environments with very high particle multiplicities, exploiting time-association of the photon hits.


Notizie (in italiano)

Project details

Project coordinator: Massimiliano Fiorini

Funding source: HORIZON 2020 - ERC consolidator grants

Start date 01/12/2019 - end date 30/11/2024
Total cost: 1.975.000 €
EU contribution: 1.975.000 €
EU contribution to UniFe: 506.250 €


  • Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Italy
  • Università degli Studi di Ferrara (UNIFE), Italy
  • European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland