This paper aims at exploring and validating the adoption of standard fabrication processes for the realization of CMOS active pixel sensors, for particle detection purposes. The goal is to implement a single-chip, complete radiation sensor system, including on a CMOS integrated circuit the sensitive devices, read-out and signal processing circuits. A prototype chip (RAPS01) based on these principles has been already fabricated, and a chip characterization has been carried out; in particular, the evaluation of the sensitivity of the sensor response on the actual operating conditions was estimated, as well as the response uniformity. Optimization and tailoring of the sensor structures for High Energy Physics applications are being evaluated in the design of the next generation chip (RAPS02). Basic features of the new chip includes digitally configurable readout and multi-mode access (i.e., either sparse of line-scan readout). © 2005 IEEE.