About AQUA

Our research mission is to model and develop hardware/software systems based on quantum devices. Particular emphasis is on high-speed 2D/3D optical sensing, embedded & reconfigurable processing architectures, single photon avalanche devices (SPAD) and design optimization techniques.

Our teaching mission is to equip engineers and scientists with a multi-disciplinary knowledge on state-of-the-art hardware/software systems.

Key Events and Awards


  • Kazuhiro Morimoto is among the recipients the 2020 Swiss Nanotechnology PhD Award. The SNC 2020 has now been moved to 2021. It will take place on 24th and 25th of June 2021 at the Congress Center in Basel. The 2020 prizes and the ones from 2021 will be handed over on Friday 25th 2021 in a special award ceremony.


  • Preethi Padmanabhan won the best student paper award at the International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW) held in Snowbird, Utah from June 23-27, 2019 (see pictures) for her work on modeling and analysis of a coincidence-based direct-TOF sensor architecture for wide-dynamic range targets in LiDAR applications.
    IISW is the premier meeting focused on image sensors and it is often the place where major new inventions are announced in the field of cameras for SLR, smartphones, industrial, scientific, medical, and security markets.
  • AQUA team have received the “Best Academic Research Team” award at the 2019 Image Sensors Europe conference. Prof. Edoardo Charbon and his team received the award for “pioneering work in SPAD image sensors” and for “generating many new ideas over the last 25 years”. The prize was awarded at an official ceremony on March 13th during the 2019 edition of Image Sensors, Europe’s premier conference on image sensors, gathering all major industrial and academic players in the field. See details.
  • Prof. Edoardo Charbon gave a talk with the title “The role of cryo-CMOS in quantum computers” at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a part of Berkeley Quantum seminar series. The abstract and slides of the talk can be found here.


  • Simone Frasca receives the best student paper award from the 683rd. WE-Heraeus-Seminar: Physics and Applications of Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors committee Simone Frasca has been awarded for his work on the development of a practical method to measure the depairing current density of superconducting ultrathin films by means of superconducting nanowire resonators.
  • Andrada Muntean receives the best student paper award at the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium / Medical Imagind Conference.In this work we have, for the first time, integrated a state-of-the-art silicon photomultiplier with electronics designed to detect single photons with a time resolution of a few tens of picoseconds (1 picosecond = 10^-12 seconds). This super-fast detector is used in positron emission tomography, a non-invasive technique for imaging cancer cells in three dimensions.
  • AQUA participated to the Micro18-“Big Data sous la loupe” in Microcity, Neuchatel

  • Preethi Padmanabhan, PhD, wins the 2018 ISSCC Student Travel Grant Award (STGA), given by the IEEE Solid State Circuits Society to 28 promising graduate-level student engineers this year. A profile about Preethi will be published in the Spring 2018 issue of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine.

  • AQUA organized the 1st International SPAD Sensor Workshop in Les Diablerets, Switzerland February 26th-28th, 2018 / workshop’s website / July 2018: presentations available


  • Scott Lindner was selected to participate to the final of the EPFL MT180 (My Thesis in 180 sec.), see video / Nov 2017
  • Preethi Padmanabhan, PhD, received the Best Poster Award for the paper titled “A CMOS Front-end for GaN-based UV Imaging” at the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop, Hiroshima, Japan (IISW – / 05.2017
  • AQUA presented a 512×512 SPAD Image Sensor (largest SPAD imager to date) at the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop, Hiroshima, Japan (IISW – / 05.2017
  • Review on “Ten years of biophotonics single-photon SPAD imager applications: retrospective and outlook( at the BIOS/SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco / 02.2017
  • Edoardo Charbon is nominated IEEE Fellow “For contributions to solid-state single photon avalanche detectors and their applications in imaging” ( / 01.2017


  • The paper “Analyzing blinking effects in super resolution localization microscopy with single-photon SPAD imagers” (Ivan Michel Antolovic et al. – received the PicoQuant Young Investigator Award at the BIOS/SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, USA / 02.2016